NEW YORK -- With his 4 2/3-inning start on Saturday, Lance Lynn's season innings total sits at 68 1/3. That's certainly not an unusual mark for a pitcher 11 starts into his season. But it is already more than half the innings Lynn logged in an injury-plagued 2011.
Lynn threw a combined 109 2/3 innings between Triple-A and the Majors last year. This season, he is on pace to throw 205.
Making such a jump in a one-year span is typically avoided, as it has been proven to lead to an increased risk in arm issues. The Cardinals, while monitoring Lynn's workload, have not yet put together a firm long-term plan on how to eventually limit it.
"I think right now we're in the mode that we have to maximize the here-and-now," manager Mike Matheny said. "He's doing a nice job, so we're going to continue to let him go. Is it out of the question to look at that and look way down the road? We've talked about it, but just haven't made any adjustments so far."
One of the potential answers could be Chris Carpenter. Should Carpenter return to the team after the All-Star break, as currently projected, he could slide back into the rotation. Assuming the rest of the starters remain healthy, that would give the Cardinals the option of putting Lynn back in the bullpen.
The Cardinals' recent pursuit of free-agent pitcher Roy Oswalt, who signed with the Rangers, was also made while considering Lynn's season path.
"[Signing Oswalt] was something that [general manager John Mozeliak] was seriously trying to make happen," Matheny said. "There have been a lot of moving parts to what potentially could happen. We're just real excited about what Lance is doing and will help to continue moving him forward, but not being blind to the fact that it's going to be considerably different to what he's done in the past."