Lynn showcases changeup in simulated game

Righty feels fine after exiting March 8 start with left hip flexor strain

Lynn showcases changeup in simulated game

JUPITER, Fla. -- Lance Lynn's participation in a three-inning simulated game on Wednesday morning was less about proving his health and more about getting another spring tune-up. And in the process, Lynn flaunted a new pitch that he hopes to feature regularly this season.

Lynn, who had pretty immediate success in the Majors while relying on a fastball-heavy repertoire, showcased his improving changeup several times during Wednesday's session. In particular, it caught the attention of teammate Jon Jay, who took several at-bats against him.

Lynn, Jay progressing in camp

"I had never seen it like that," Jay said afterward. "Same thing with [Adam Wainwright] the other day. [Lynn's] changeup was filthy. It's just another weapon to his arsenal.

"Those guys are already good, and that's what makes them special. They keep on continuing to grow and get better. You see that with Lance now. He's taking that next step to try and solidify himself as that guy that everyone looks to."

The changeup, in particular, could help Lynn improve his results against lefties, who have hit the right-hander at a .256/.355/.409 clip in his career.

"It's just amazing what that does when you increase the number of weapons that you have and pitches that take you off what your strengths are," manager Mike Matheny said. "To be able to throw that cutter that looks like a four-seam [fastball], all of a sudden makes his fastball harder. And being able to throw that breaking ball for strikes, and the way the changeup is coming out -- all the way around, he is improving as a pitcher. He's just becoming a little more versatile."

Lynn simulated a pair of inning breaks during his work on Wednesday, and he had no issue getting loose after each. In his first Grapefruit League start, he tightened up while in the dugout waiting to return to the mound, and he eventually was removed from the game with a left hip flexor strain.

Lynn had thrown on the side several times since that March 8 early exit, and he would have returned to Grapefruit League action on Wednesday had the Cardinals been scheduled to play a game. Instead, the club improvised by pulling several Minor League players over to field a defense and take at-bats.

"It felt as good as it has the last week or so," Lynn said afterward. "I treated it like I would a normal spring start. I knew I was fine. I knew I was healthy. I wasn't worried about anything. I just had to get the pitches in."

Matheny did not confirm when Lynn's next Grapefruit League start would come, though it will likely be in about five days in order to keep him on a normal rotation schedule.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.