ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals had little trouble choosing caution over bravado when it came to starting pitcher Kyle McClellan. The right-hander will go on the 15-day disabled list Thursday, retroactive to Tuesday, as a result of a strained left hip flexor.
To take McClellan's place on the roster, the Cards will purchase the contract of right-hander Lance Lynn from Triple-A Memphis. Lynn will make his Major League debut Thursday, on three days' rest. The club hopes that McClellan will only miss the minimum 15 days with the injury, which he incurred in Monday's loss to the Giants.
"It's definitely the right thing to do," McClellan said. "The way I've [had it] explained it's kind of like a pulled hamstring -- if you don't give it enough time, it's going to keep occurring. There's two different things -- there's the strain and there's the swelling. So you have to pretty much right now let the swelling go down and then try to strengthen everything around the strain."
Lynn, 24, is the organization's most advanced pitching prospect and is in his second full season at Triple-A Memphis. He's 5-3 with a 4.06 ERA, 54 strikeouts and 21 walks on the year. Lynn was a supplemental first-round selection in the 2008 Draft.
"Everything's positive on [Lynn's performance this year]," general manager John Mozeliak said. "We wouldn't make the move, wouldn't bring him up if it wasn't positive."
Lynn will be pitching on short rest. His most recent start was Sunday at home against Omaha. He allowed four runs on seven hits in seven innings, striking out six against one walk. He threw 101 pitches. With an off-day Monday for the Cardinals, it's possible that Thursday will be a one-shot deal for Lynn. Neither Mozeliak nor manager Tony La Russa would commit to anything more extensive.
However long he's up, Lynn will not have an easy time replicating what McClellan has offered thus far. In his first season as a starter, McClellan has been very effective. He's turned in quality starts (six innings or more, three earned runs or fewer) in seven of his 11 starts. He had a 3.11 ERA before his last start, in which he allowed seven runs after incurring the injury.
It's McClellan's first year as a starter, so the club believes that there is some silver lining to McClellan's injury. Mozeliak said that at some point during the summer the club likely would have given McClellan a rest to keep his innings down anyway.