Cards release veteran Batista, recall Lynn
Club addresses recent bullpen woes with pair of moves
ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals made a first move in addressing their troublesome bullpen situation on Wednesday, releasing veteran right-hander Miguel Batista. The club recalled right-hander Lance Lynn to take Batista's spot in the relief corps.
Batista, 40, made 26 appearances for the Cardinals after making the team as a non-roster invitee to Spring Training. He allowed 27 hits in 29 1/3 innings, striking out 16 against 19 walks. He has struggled mightily in recent weeks, allowing 14 runs and 11 walks in 13 1/3 innings over his past 12 appearances since mid-May.
"It was about improving, period," general manager John Mozeliak said. "The game is based on performance. If you don't perform ..."
Lynn, 24, was a supplemental first-round Draft pick in 2008 and moved up the Cardinals' system rapidly. He's 7-3 with a 3.84 ERA for Triple-A Memphis this year, with 64 strikeouts and 25 walks in 12 starts. Lynn has also made two starts with the Cardinals, allowing six earned runs over 10 1/3 innings.
Lynn will remain in relief work for the time being, serving as the "innings guy" or long reliever, manager Tony La Russa said. La Russa dismissed the idea that Lynn could join the club's rotation with Kyle McClellan going back to the bullpen, where he was a key pitcher from 2008-2010.
With Lynn moving into the long-relief job, it could open up some higher-leverage innings for former closer Ryan Franklin, who has been used in long-relief duty in recent weeks. Franklin had begun showing improvement in late May and early June, but has allowed six runs on 10 hits over his past two outings.
"Franky, you could use wherever you want," La Russa said. "We don't have to hold him [back] as much."
Following a rough game on Tuesday night, the Cardinals have a bullpen ERA of 4.28, third-worst in the National League. Cardinals relievers have 15 blown saves, tied for most in the Majors, and their 14 relief losses are tied for fourth-most in the league.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.