Lynn battles elements in second spring start

Lefty adjusts, looks sharp against Tigers

Lynn battles elements in second spring start

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Despite needing 40-plus pitches to navigate through his first two innings, Lance Lynn looked sharp against a fairly formidable Tigers lineup in his second start of the spring and ended up finishing five innings with a pitch count of 81.

Lynn's biggest foe may have been the wind gusting out to right field. It carried what looked to be a routine fly ball off Miguel Cabrera's bat over the wall for a two-run homer in the first.

"It happens," Lynn shrugged afterward. "Other than that, everything was fine. Maybe on a normal day it was an out. … That's part of spring down here in the windy elements of Florida."

Lynn adjusted for the elements by attacking the third-base side of the plate so that more balls would be driven to left, where the wind was blowing in. Following Cabrera's homer, Lynn allowed just four more hits (all singles).

Though the Cardinals haven't officially announced where Lynn fits into the rotation, he's expected to pitch either the second or third game at Wrigley Field to open the season. He's in line to make one more Grapefruit League start before the team travels to Chicago.

"It was good to get out there and face hitters and get your pitches in and get your work done and come out of it healthy," Lynn said. "That's all that really matters right now. I've felt good the last two times out with everything. I'm just going to keep going that direction."

Other news and notes:

Randal Grichuk, still making a push for a spot on the Opening Day roster, walked, singled and scored a run while splitting time in right and left field on Saturday.

Grichuk's two-run shot

"I think he's having probably as impressive a spring as anybody," manager Mike Matheny said. "I think his has stood out more than anybody else's."

• Matheny surprised his oldest son, Tate, by sneaking into the stands at Jacksonville University for its game against Missouri State on Friday evening. He was helped by the rain, which delayed the start time by about a half an hour. That gave Matheny enough time to make the two-and-a-half hour drive north from Viera, Fla., where he had managed the Cardinals' split-squad game earlier in the day.

Tate Matheny, a junior at Missouri State, was hit by a pitch in his first two plate appearances before singling his next time up. The game was suspended with Missouri State leading by two with two outs in the ninth.

• With Marco Gonzales and Sam Freeman unexpectedly unavailable out of the bullpen, the Cardinals were thin in pitching options out of the 'pen. However, Matheny was able to get two innings out of Mitch Harris and another from Carlos Villanueva behind Lynn.

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.