ST. LOUIS -- Lance Lynn found out on Sunday that he is headed to his first Major League All-Star Game, an invitation extended as a result of being one of the top vote-getters in the player balloting. Whether he'll have an opportunity to pitch in the game, however, remains unknown.
The Cardinals are keeping a close eye on Lynn's escalating innings count this year. Including his work in the postseason, Lynn threw only 115 1/3 innings in 2011. That low total was affected by a two-month oblique injury and a move to the big league bullpen.
But moved into the rotation this year, Lynn has already thrown 97 innings in 16 starts. He contends that the sharp increase in workload hasn't been behind his recent scuffles, but the Cardinals have made it no secret that they are monitoring his work.
As a result, there's a possibility that the Cardinals could ask National League manager Tony La Russa to hold Lynn out of next week's All-Star Game.
"You hate to take away that honor, and it's an honor," manager Mike Matheny said. "There's something on the line, too. We have to lay it out, look at the calendar. It's been no question that we're watching him close and that he's had a lot of innings already. But physically he's responded very well. It's a unique situation to be in an All-Star Game, and we don't want to take that away. We're all going to sit down and figure out the right thing to do."
Likely to work in Lynn's favor is the fact that he is making his final first-half start on Thursday, meaning that he could pitch in the All-Star Game on a normal four days of rest. The Cardinals could also tweak the rotation so that he does not pitch in the first few games out of the break.
And if he does make an appearance, it's would almost certainly be for no more than an inning.
"If they want me to pitch, I'll be more than happy," Lynn said. "When you get a chance to be in a game like that, you want to pitch and show why you're there. Or if they want me not to pitch or something happens to where I'm pitching the first game after, I'll definitely understand."