PITTSBURGH -- The Cardinals opened a series in Pittsburgh on Monday with a new pitcher available out of the bullpen. For the first time since the 2011 World Series, Lance Lynn watched games from the 'pen, ready to enter as needed.
The Cardinals announced on Saturday that the club would flip-flop roles for Lynn and Joe Kelly, whose own stay in the 'pen lasted a mere two games. Because Lynn threw only 62 pitches in a two-inning start on Friday, the Cardinals were comfortable going to Lynn as soon as Monday.
While Lynn's relief role isn't explicitly defined, manager Mike Matheny called upon the right-hander to carry the Cardinals for 1 1/3 innings in Monday's 4-3 win over the Pirates.
Lynn entered in the sixth when a rain delay forced starter Kyle Lohse to end his night earlier than expected. And Lynn returned to the mound in the seventh because of Edward Mujica's unavailability.
Mujica, who has been Matheny's go-to reliever in the seventh, had pitched in three of the past four games. Matheny did not want to tack on additional work on Monday.
"We've used Mujica a lot lately," Matheny said. "We're just going to have to be careful with these guys. We're riding them pretty hard."
Moving forward, Lynn would, obviously, also be a long-relief option, and the Cardinals have asked him not to discard the mental preparation he used as a starter. Should the club need to make any changes in its rotation, Lynn would be the first pitcher slotted back in.
"I want him to keep his mind prepared and his extra work going in that direction of possibly being a starter again," Matheny said. "We don't know how or when. And right now, we want him to take a lot of pride in helping us from the bullpen."