JUPITER, Fla. -- Lance Lynn made a bold assertion after throwing two scoreless innings against the Marlins in his spring debut on Saturday:
"This is the best I've felt arm-wise, ever," Lynn said. "I've been able to work and not worry about some things that I've had to worry about in the past."
That insistence comes after he threw a career-high 201 2/3 innings in the regular season and another 17 1/3 in October. One to get stronger the deeper he pitches into a game, he thinks there could be a similar benefit with the more innings he puts on his arm.
Lynn was one of two Cardinals pitchers (Adam Wainwright being the other) to reach the 200-innings benchmark in 2013. Carrying a rotation still dotted with youth, the Cardinals target having Lynn surpass that number again. Being a reliable workhorse is also among his primary goals.
"When you're coming up in the Minor Leagues, that's what you want to hear -- that you can be a guy who goes deep into games and throw 200 innings," he said. "When I first got here, that's what everyone prided themselves on, being a 200-innings guy and saving the bullpen. We had some guys who did that before when I came up and my first couple of years here. Hopefully, I can be that guy from here on out."
The spring schedule is long enough for Lynn to get a healthy amount of innings under his belt before the season even starts. He has time to make six starts before April, though manager Mike Matheny said it is still a possibility that the 26-year-old right-hander will stop at five. The Cardinals have not yet promised Lynn a spot in the rotation, but he is expected to be among the five the club carry out of camp.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.