Arm fatigue to keep Garcia off Opening Day roster

Visit with team physician reveals no new injury

Arm fatigue to keep Garcia off Opening Day roster

JUPITER, Fla. -- A Sunday morning visit with a team physician revealed no new injury for Jaime Garcia, but rather confirmed that the left-hander had trouble recovering from an 80-pitch simulated game on Tuesday.

Garcia, speaking a day after the club announced he'd be scratched from his next scheduled spring start, said he has been feeling left arm soreness and fatigue over the last few days, including during a side session on Thursday. When the discomfort didn't subside, Garcia alerted the Cardinals' medical staff.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cardinals weigh Opening Day roster flexibility

Three off-days over first 10 gives Matheny options

Cardinals weigh Opening Day roster flexibility

JUPITER, Fla. -- Seven days out from an Opening Night matchup against the Cubs, the Cardinals continue to weigh the various ways in which they could construct their roster because of the flexibility offered by a high concentration of early-season off days.

Manager Mike Matheny acknowledged that the club is still discussing all three possibilities. One is that they carry a fifth starter, even though the club doesn't have to use that starter until April 19. Taking one anyway would allow the Cardinals to build in extra rest for their other four starters and would leave them with the usual five bench players and seven relievers. The fifth rotation spot would be claimed by either Carlos Martinez or Marco Gonzales.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Solid Lynn holds Tigers' lineup in check

Righty strikes out five, walks none in five innings vs. Detroit

Solid Lynn holds Tigers' lineup in check

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Miguel Cabrera hit his second home run in as many games before Alex Avila's game-tying solo homer and Jordan Lennerton's go-ahead double led the Tigers to a 4-3 win over the Cardinals Saturday afternoon at Joker Marchant Stadium.

Cabrera continues to swing with little if any rust from an offseason of rehab from foot surgery. After hitting a line-drive home run two days earlier and taking Friday off, Cabrera came back Saturday and lofted an opposite-field shot that the wind carried to the batting cage building beyond right field.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lynn battles elements in second spring start

Lefty adjusts, looks sharp against Tigers

Lynn battles elements in second spring start

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Despite needing 40-plus pitches to navigate through his first two innings, Lance Lynn looked sharp against a fairly formidable Tigers lineup in his second start of the spring and ended up finishing five innings with a pitch count of 81.

Lynn's biggest foe may have been the wind gusting out to right field. It carried what looked to be a routine fly ball off Miguel Cabrera's bat over the wall for a two-run homer in the first.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Freeman trade starts to bring clarity to Cards' bullpen

With no Minor League options remaining, Cardinals send lefty to Rangers

Freeman trade starts to bring clarity to Cards' bullpen

LAKELAND, Fla. -- His roster status complicated by being an out-of-options player, lefty Sam Freeman, a 32nd-round draftee of the Cardinals in 2008, was traded to the Rangers on Saturday in exchange for cash considerations or a player to be named later.

The move, while offering Freeman the chance to be on an Opening Day roster for the first time, also begins to clarify the Cardinals' own bullpen picture. Finding a trade partner for Freeman became necessary once the club decided it would carry lefties Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrist in its 'pen.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cardinals HOF candidacy brings back fond memories for Morris

Now removed from baseball, former righty's 22-win season was highlight of successful career

Cardinals HOF candidacy brings back fond memories for Morris

This is the fourth in a series of stories profiling the eight modern candidates on the Cardinals' 2015 Hall of Fame ballot.

More than 700 miles from the nearest Major League Baseball city, in Big Sky, Mont., lives Matt Morris.

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Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ortega's homers back Lackey's seven strong

Right-hander helps split Cardinals squad edge Mets with 84-pitch gem

Ortega's homers back Lackey's seven strong

JUPITER, Fla. -- Starters Matt Harvey and John Lackey each looked sharp in their penultimate starts of Grapefruit League play on Friday, though it was the Cardinals who came away with a 5-4 split-squad victory.

Efficiency allowed Lackey, in his third start of the spring, to become the first Cardinals pitcher this spring to cover seven innings in a Grapefruit League outing. He scattered six hits and didn't allow the Mets to advance a runner past second until the seventh, when New York used back-to-back hits by Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Michael Cuddyer to foil the shutout bid.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Martinez cuts ERA in latest bid for Cards' rotation

Wong plates St. Louis' only run with fourth-inning groundout

Martinez cuts ERA in latest bid for Cards' rotation

VIERA, Fla -- Backing up much of the hype surrounding their pitching staff, the Nationals have continued to turn in stellar outing after stellar outing this spring. The latest came on Friday courtesy of right-hander Jordan Zimmmermann, who is on pace to be the team's No. 2 starter this season.

Zimmermann surrendered one run on four hits with two walks and four strikeouts in six innings during a 1-1 tie with a split Cardinals squad. Zimmermann saw his Grapefruit League ERA rise incrementally to 1.37.

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Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lackey virtually ready for season after gem

Seven-inning, 84-pitch start against Mets leaves right-hander confident

Lackey virtually ready for season after gem

JUPITER, Fla. -- After using his first two spring starts to focus on specific pitches, John Lackey met with catcher Yadier Molina on Friday morning, asking him to call the game as he would in the regular season.

What followed was a seven-inning performance from Lackey that the Cardinals would certainly take in such a setting.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ortega finds power stroke in breakout for Cards

Lackey mum on reason for scant swings during at-bats; Bourjos tallies pair of hits

Ortega finds power stroke in breakout for Cards

JUPITER, Fla. -- Outfielder Rafael Ortega went 2-for-22 in Grapefruit League play before the Cardinals sent him out to Minor League camp as part of their most recent wave of cuts on Monday. He returned on Friday and made the impression that he probably wished he could have made sooner.

With a two-homer game, Ortega produced four of the runs in the Cardinals' 5-4 win over the Mets. He provided that production, too, despite not entering the game until the sixth inning. His second homer elicited a curtain call at Roger Dean Stadium.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Regardless of role, Martinez pleased with progress

In competition for Cardinals' final rotation spot, righty shuts down Nationals

Regardless of role, Martinez pleased with progress

VIERA, Fla -- If Friday was indeed the final chance for Carlos Martinez to make his case to the Cardinals that he should earn the final spot in their rotation, the right-hander went out with a flourish, closing with what he considered his best outing of the spring.

Martinez limited the Nationals to five hits and one run over five innings, striking out six and walking two, during Friday's 1-1 tie at Space Coast Stadium.

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Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bell has right DNA to thrive as Cards' bench coach

Son of respected skipper fills in for manager Matheny on split-squad afternoon

Bell has right DNA to thrive as Cards' bench coach

JUPITER, Fla. -- With manager Mike Matheny accompanying half the club to Viera, Fla., for the road portion of Friday's split-squad day, bench coach David Bell slid into the manager's seat for the home game against the Mets. Given his own coaching climb and bloodlines, it's an undertaking that suited Bell well.

Bell's father, Buddy, managed parts of nine seasons in the Majors, making stops with the Tigers, Rockies and Royals. David Bell was a Major League player through most of that stretch before transitioning into his own career in coaching. He managed four seasons in the Reds' farm system, then joined his first Major League coaching staff in 2013.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Indoor session proves more productive for Wainwright

Ace struggles with command vs. Fish, but 'was driving the ball' for first time on covered mound

Indoor session proves more productive for Wainwright

JUPITER, Fla. -- Adam Wainwright had very specific goals going into his penultimate start of the spring on Thursday. And he left the complex confident he had accomplished them -- even if it had happened mostly outside the public eye.

Prioritizing command of his fastball and changeup, Wainwright threw 65 pitches over 3 2/3 innings against the Marlins before a rainstorm halted his day. Needing to throw a few more to hit his desired pitch count, Wainwright retreated to the covered batting cages to continue his work.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Much-anticipated power arrives for Heyward

Much-anticipated power arrives for Heyward

JUPITER, Fla. -- Hours after his manager laughed off concern about Jason Heyward not yet having registered an extra-base hit this spring, the right fielder blasted his first -- all the way onto the porch of the team complex beyond the right-field wall.

It was a show of power that the Cardinals have been waiting to see, but one they also knew would come. Heyward did actually connect for an extra-base hit before Thursday, but it was erased from the stat sheet when rain kept Monday's game from becoming official.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Heyward ends drought, while Waino a bit shaky

Slugger homers for first extra-base hit; ace allows four runs before delay in loss to Fish

Heyward ends drought, while Waino a bit shaky

JUPITER, Fla. -- Giancarlo Stanton blasted a home run and tacked on an RBI double on Thursday as the Marlins edged the Cardinals, 5-3, at Roger Dean Stadium. The Miami slugger connected for the second time this spring, unloading a mammoth drive off Adam Wainwright in the first inning.

Jason Heyward responded in the bottom of the frame with a big blast of his own, putting the Cardinals on the board against Henderson Alvarez. The shot to right was Heyward's first extra-base hit in Grapefruit League play.

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Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Holliday downplays age, seeks better start to season

Veteran, 35, points to lack of timing, comfort at plate as reason for first-half struggles in '14

Holliday downplays age, seeks better start to season

JUPITER, Fla. -- As left fielder Matt Holliday prepares for his sixth full season with the Cardinals, he's seeking to fend off the often decreasing production that comes with increasing age.

Holliday, now entering his age-35 season, is statistically coming off the worst offensive season of his 11-year career. His 2014 batting average (.272), slugging percentage (.441) and OPS (.811) were the lowest in his career. His on-base percentage (.370) and home run total (20) were his worst since 2005.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wacha sets tone with stingy start before Cards win late

Starter tosses 5 2/3 strong innings; Walden's stellar save preserve's Kelly's decisive SF

Wacha sets tone with stingy start before Cards win late

JUPITER, Fla. -- Cardinals right-hander Michael Wacha and Nationals Opening Day starter Max Scherzer were engaged in a terrific pitchers' duel to start Wednesday's matchup at Roger Dean Stadium, before the Cards broke through in the eighth inning for a 1-0 victory.

Nats reliever Aaron Barrett began the inning by hitting Kolten Wong with a pitch, and pinch-runner Charlie Tilson stole second base after Wong was removed. Barrett then uncorked a wild pitch, advancing Tilson to third, and Ty Kelly drove him home with a sacrifice fly. After Barrett exited, Rafael Martin struck out Stephen Piscotty with the bases loaded to end the damage.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Shannon shares his take on Cards' expectations

Entering 44th season in booth, radio voice likes what he sees from Gonzales, Heyward

Shannon shares his take on Cards' expectations

JUPITER, Fla. -- With the start of the regular season quickly approaching, MLB.com sat down alongside broadcaster Mike Shannon, who is about to begin his 44th season in the Cardinals' radio booth. Shannon's connection to the organization actually dates further back than that, too, as the St. Louis native began his nine-year Cardinals playing career in 1962.

Shannon, who has been watching the club throughout Spring Training, shared his thoughts on what he has seen over the past month and provided his take on what to expect in the year ahead. To see the interview in its entirety, view the video clip. Below are some highlights:

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wacha not walking, issues first free pass of spring

Carpenter removed as precaution after HBP; Matheny sets pitching schedule through Saturday

Wacha not walking, issues first free pass of spring

JUPITER, Fla. -- Michael Wacha, like most players, doesn't concern himself much with Spring Training statistics. That is, except for one.

"One I look at," he admitted, "is walks."

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Injured Pham running out of time to secure bench job

Hampered by lingering quad strain, Cards OF cleared for workouts but not all activities

Injured Pham running out of time to secure bench job

JUPITER, Fla. -- A left quad strain that Tommy Pham had hoped would sideline him for only a few days has seemingly derailed his chances at winning a bench spot on the Cardinals' Opening Day roster.

Officially, Pham is one of the 38 players remaining in Major League camp. But he hasn't been on the field since March 13 and remains limited in what he can do because of continued discomfort. The Cardinals haven't ruled out seeing Pham in a Grapefruit League game before the club breaks camp next Thursday, but there isn't the volume of opportunities necessary for the outfielder to play his way onto the Major League club.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Matheny provides hint at projected season lineup

Cardinals manager likes talent, depth and potential for flexibility throughout order

Matheny provides hint at projected season lineup

JUPITER, Fla. -- Manager Mike Matheny may not be ready to commit to a regular-season batting order, but the one he utilized for Wednesday's game against Washington offered a sneak peek at what it could be.

For the first time this spring, Matheny wrote all eight of his projected starting position players into the same lineup. Unsurprisingly, he lined Matt Carpenter, Jason Heyward and Matt Holliday up top. For Carpenter and Holliday, the placement is plenty familiar. Heyward, who simply hoped to escape the leadoff spot, has been hitting second throughout Grapefruit League play.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tennis anyone? Jay introduces unique training method

Cards outfielders, along with Wong, set up ball machine to help first-step quickness, focus

Tennis anyone? Jay introduces unique training method

JUPITER, Fla. -- Inspired by a drill that he saw at a University of Miami football practice, Jon Jay prepared for this season with the assistance of a tennis-ball machine. He wasn't the only Cardinals player to employ the unique resource, either.

Jay introduced the ball machine to his teammates last spring, bringing it with him to camp and demonstrating how it could help improve first-step quickness. The outfielders set up the machine to feed tennis balls for about 15 minutes and then went about catching them glove-free.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Checking in: 7 spring questions for the Cardinals

With Opening Day nearing, it's time to revisit club's most pressing matters

Checking in: 7 spring questions for the Cardinals

JUPITER, Fla. -- Before the opening of Grapefruit League play, there were seven big questions the Cardinals needed to answer during the 28-game spring slate. Nearly three weeks in, the club has already crossed some of those off the list. Others still require clarity.

With the Cards enjoying their final off-day of Spring Training before the push to Opening Day, it seems appropriate to revisit those seven questions.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Torre's impact on Cards exemplified by HOF candidacy

Cooperstown inductee played, managed six seasons apiece for club

Torre's impact on Cards exemplified by HOF candidacy

This is the third in a series of stories profiling the eight modern candidates on the Cardinals' 2015 Hall of Fame ballot.

Joe Torre and Major League Baseball have often been one and the same.

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Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Garcia optimistic after 80-pitch simulated game

Garcia optimistic after 80-pitch simulated game

JUPITER, Fla. -- With an 80-pitch simulated game on Tuesday, Jaime Garcia passed another necessary endurance test while pushing the Cardinals closer to having to make a decision about his season-opening status.

Manager Mike Matheny, who observed the off-day outing along with several of his coaches, acknowledged that the Cardinals entered Spring Training anticipating they would break camp without Garcia. That was because most expected Garcia to need more than a month of Grapefruit League games to prove his health and durability.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Odd man out? Tough decisions a good problem to have

Odd man out? Tough decisions a good problem to have

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Tough decisions are good decisions. Tough decisions mean that the players didn't settle things for you by blowing out their elbows or striking out every trip to the plate or injuring themselves sneezing. Tough decisions mean all those things you liked about these guys on paper are here now, in real life, and it's your job to decide what to do with them.

If things continue as is, the Cardinals are going to have an awfully tough decision to make at the back of their rotation. Do they finally stick with Carlos Martinez in the starting role he's seemingly prescribed for? Or do they put him back in the bullpen yet again in favor of an oft-injured Jaime Garcia, who is finally healthy and flashing the stuff that once made him so effective and attractive?

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Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Pipeline Perspectives: Cards have best system of past five years

St. Louis has consistently produced great talent despite not picking high in Drafts

Pipeline Perspectives: Cards have best system of past five years

There's a good amount of subjectivity regarding baseball prospects. With the evaluation of talent being in the eye of the beholder, finding consensus is often difficult. Even Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLBPipeline.com don't always see eye to eye. They discuss their viewpoints regularly in a feature called Pipeline Perspectives. Submit a topic for them to debate.

We've just recently unveiled Top 30 lists for all 30 organizations and even ranked the top 10 farm systems in all of baseball.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayoB3 on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lynn returns to mound in impressive form

Lynn returns to mound in impressive form

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Boston's Pablo Sandoval led off Monday's bottom of the second inning with a line drive to left field that went for a double. That put Cardinals right-hander Lance Lynn in a tough spot early in his first Grapefruit League start in more than two weeks.

He responded to the challenge. After Daniel Nava moved the runner to third with a groundout, Lynn froze Brock Holt with a fastball that clocked in at 95 mph on the JetBlue Park radar gun, then broke Bryce Brentz's bat for an easy groundout. With that, Lynn was on his way to a strong four-inning outing, during which he showed no ill effects from the left hip flexor strain that had him out of action since leaving early in his March 8 spring debut.

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.