Lance Lynn made his Twins spring training debut on Tuesday and pitched 3 scoreless innings while reportedly hitting 94 mph on the radar gun. The newest member of the Twins’ starting rotation struck out 5 hitters, walked one, and didn’t allow a hit to the Orioles’ spring lineup.
Late start, you say? What late start?
Because of the slow-moving free agent market, Lynn reported to Fort Myers roughly one month after other Twins pitchers and catchers. That apparently didn’t slow down the longtime Cardinals starter, who is in line to make his first official Twins start in the first week of the season, Twins GM Thad Levine said.
Levine joined Chris Russo on MLB Network to discuss the Lynn signing. He said that the Twins’ plan is to have Lynn pitch in the second series of the year, on either April 2 or 4 in Pittsburgh.
“We play 5 games in the first 7 days of the season,” Levine told MLB Network. “So [Lynn] may not be ready for that Opening Day, per se, but I think he’ll be ready for that first turn through the rotation. We’re looking toward that Pittsburgh series – he will pitch one of the two games there, if all goes to plan.”
Earlier Tuesday, the Twins cut several starting rotation candidates from their Major League camp, including Adalberto Mejia. That helps bring some clarity to the starting staff. (The other cuts were Stephen Gonsalves, Fernando Romero, Aaron Slegers and reliever John Curtiss.)
They’ve got Jake Odorizzi, J.O. Berrios and Lynn as their projected top-3 starters. Ervin Santana is expected to miss April after surgery on his middle finger. Then there’s Kyle Gibson and Phil Hughes and Tyler Duffey still working to earn a spot in that opening day rotation.
Manager Paul Molitor has said that he plans to open the season with 4 starters, which could put the squeeze on a candidate who otherwise would be in the rotation right out of the gate.