SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Lance Lynn finished Spring Training just the way he intended: strong, healthy and with around 20 innings pitched.
That was Lynn's normal Spring Training when was averaging 15 wins a season for the Cardinals from 2012-15. It's the Spring Training he missed last year when he was a late free-agent signing with the Twins.
Lynn brought this spring to the right conclusion on Sunday by going five innings in his final start against the Royals. He allowed two runs on two hits and two walks and struck out four. Two first-inning free passes led to one run before Lynn retired 13 of the final 14 batters he faced. Royals catcher Cam Gallagher had a home run off him in the fourth in a game that ended in 3-3 tie.
“When you get five up-downs and your pitch count up to the seventies going into the season, that’s good,” Lynn said. “For the most part, everything felt good. When I look back at it, just one bad pitch right into a guy’s bat path on a bad breaking ball. But other than that, it was a good day, besides two walks in the first inning.”
Lynn ended up with 21 2/3 innings for the spring, including a five-inning outing in a Triple-A game. He had just seven spring innings for the Twins last year after signing on March 15, a likely factor in him going 1-4 with a 7.47 ERA over his first eight starts of the regular season.
That was quite a difference from his four peak years with the Cardinals. From 2012-15, Lynn made a combined 19 starts in the month of April and was 13-3 with a 2.94 ERA. In '17, after missing a year recovering from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery, Lynn was 3-1 with a 2.45 ERA. He had 15 innings across five spring starts that year.
The hope is that 2018 was the aberration.
“For me, every spring you can get out of it healthy and feeling strong, that’s all that matters,” Lynn said. “That’s where I am at, so I’m looking forward to it. Anytime you can get off to a good start, it’s good because you can keep from pressing as the year goes on, as you go through your ups and downs.
“Getting off to a good start would be great, but when it’s all said and done, it doesn’t matter. You have to go start by start and go with what you’ve got that day and try to get the job done for your team.”
• Right-handed reliever Jordan Romano has been returned to the Blue Jays. The Rangers took Romano in the Rule 5 Draft but decided against carrying him on the Opening Day roster. Romano cleared waivers and the Blue Jays took him back for $50,000.
• The story of the day in Triple-A Nashville’s 4-3 win over a split Rangers squad was the work of left-hander Taylor Hearn. He went five innings for the Sounds and allowed one unearned run on two hits. He walked two and struck out seven.
• Nashville first baseman Preston Beck, who hit .346 (9-for-26) in Cactus League games, went 3-for-4 with a two-run home run for Nashville.
Right-hander Edinson Volquez makes his final start of the spring against the Indians at 7:05 p.m. CT on Monday at Globe Life Park. Joey Gallo is hoping to play the outfield after missing time in Arizona with a strained groin muscle.