Lynn laughs off concern over tightness in hip, plans speedy return

Lance Lynn said he planned to receive treatment Monday and if the tightness in his hip had subsided, hoped to throw his regular bullpen session Tuesday.

John Bazemore/AP

JUPITER, Fla. — Entering spring training, Lance Lynn was considered to be the lone Cardinals starter the organization and its fans had no reason to be concerned about.

He was coming off his best season and fresh off securing a $22 million contract extension. He had no elbow issues, no shoulder injury to deal with and was entering the prime of his career.

Well, now you can lump Lynn in with the rest of the rotation. After leaving his first spring start 24 pitches in because of a left hip flexor strain, there’s reason to worry about him, too.

Just don’t fret too much. Lynn certainly isn’t.

He said the tightness in his hip is something he deals with regularly, and if this had been a regular-season game, he wouldn’t have departed.

"I would have figured it out," he said. "That’s something that I’ve figured out before. The first time out is not the time to try to pitch through it and see how tough you are."

Lynn breezed through a three-up, three-down first inning in 10 pitches but exited in the second after walking the first two batters and allowing the third to reach when he did not exert himself to reach for a grounder up the middle.

"If I would have went after it the way I could go after it, something bad might have happened," Lynn said.

He said the discomfort was tightness and not pain, and though he was able to pitch with it in the first, he could not get sufficiently loosened up in the second.

"It just stayed that way and wouldn’t get any better," Lynn said. "Yadi (Molina) noticed that I was trying to stretch it out and he’s like, there’s no point in trying to push it today. And he was right."

Lynn said he planned to receive treatment Monday and if the tightness had subsided, he hoped to throw his regular bullpen session Tuesday. When he talked to reporters about an hour after he left the game, he had received treatment and said his left hip already was loosening up.

"I’ll come in (Monday) and make sure everything is right," Lynn said. "They’re going to do everything to make sure it’s not going to be something that flares up to where I can’t pitch. They’re going to make sure I’m smart about it. For me, I’d like to come out and play catch (Monday) and do everything normal, but they’re not going to let me do that. They’re going to make me take it slow."

He is right about that. 

"I would imagine this is going to halt Lance a little bit whether he agrees or not," manager Mike Matheny said. "We’ll find out more (Monday). Let’s not take it any further until we get more information with what we’re dealing with."

Matheny said there were no plans for Lynn to return to St. Louis, as Adam Wainwright did earlier in camp to have an abdominal strain examined by a specialist.

Lynn was at least feeling good enough to joke with reporters. As Matheny made his way toward the mound to change pitchers, Lynn was looking at his right hand as if he might be dealing with a blister issue, which he has before. Not so, he said.

"I was just looking at the baseball, talking negatively toward it," Lynn said. "(It was the) baseball’s fault my hip was tight."

Oh, OK. We can blame the baseball for causing another concern about the Cardinals’ rotation. 

Only at this point, don’t be too concerned.

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