BALTIMORE -- Lance Lynn is likely unavailable until at least Friday. But when the rookie right-hander is once again able to pitch in the Cardinals' bullpen, it's likely that he'll appear in a fairly high-leverage situation.
Lynn has been extremely impressive in two relief appearances, and it has the Cardinals thinking about using him in something other than the long-relief role for which he was initially called up. Lynn has pitched five shutout innings in relief, tallying seven strikeouts against two hits and one walk.
"That's one of the best things that's happened on our pitching staff all year long," manager Tony La Russa said.
Both La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan downplayed the possibility of Lynn moving into a starting job. However, both allowed that Lynn could well factor into late-inning relief.
La Russa adjusts: Garcia starts Thursday
BALTIMORE -- Cardinals manager Tony La Russa announced Wednesday that the club has made an adjustment to its starting rotation for the coming days. Jaime Garcia will start Thursday's series finale against the Orioles, while Jake Westbrook will take the mound in Friday night's opener against the Rays in St. Petersburg.
The Cardinals had an off-day on Monday, allowing them to make the shift. Garcia will be pitching on his regular four days' rest, while Westbrook will be pushed back to pitch on six days' rest.
La Russa did not elaborate as to his reasons for the change, but its primary upshot is an extra start for Garcia. The lefty's next turn would be on Tuesday at home against Cincinnati, followed by a start in the final game before the All-Star break, July 10. Westbrook, meanwhile, will only have two remaining starts before the break.
Additionally, the move might have a statistical basis. Garcia has been more effective on regular rest than on long rest this year. On four days' rest, he has a 2.70 ERA, 31 strikeouts and eight walks in 43 1/3 innings. On five days' rest, he has a 3.97 ERA, 48 strikeouts and 16 walks in 47 2/3 innings.
Boggs says back stiffness not an issue
BALTIMORE -- Mitchell Boggs downplayed a bout of back stiffness that kept him out of Tuesday night's game, and said he should be available to pitch on Thursday if needed.
Manager Tony La Russa said on Wednesday afternoon that he had held Boggs out the previous night due to the condition, and that Boggs was at least to be handled carefully on Wednesday. In the end, the Cardinals didn't use any relievers as Chris Carpenter pitched a complete game.
"I was ready to go tonight," Boggs said following Wednesday's 5-1 win over the Orioles. "I got here early today and threw a little bit off the mound and felt good. I was ready to go tonight if the situation came up."
Boggs also dealt with a back injury in Spring Training, but said this issue is much more minor.
"Nowhere near on the same level this time," he said. "I took care of it this time instead of what I did last time, which was not take care of it."
Adam Ottavino pitched seven strong innings for Triple-A Memphis, but it was a rough night for the Redbirds' bullpen in a 6-2 loss to Omaha on Tuesday. Ottavino allowed a run on five hits, striking out seven against one walk.
Double-A Springfield was off on Tuesday night due to the Texas League All-Star break. The game was scheduled for Wednesday night.
Adam Melker had three hits and Joe Kelly pitched six effective innings as Class A Palm Beach beat Jupiter, 4-2, on Tuesday. Kelly allowed two runs, one earned, on four hits. He struck out eight and walked four.
Boone Whiting struck out 11 over eight innings but was charged with the defeat as Class A Quad Cities fell to Cedar Rapids, 3-1, on Tuesday. Whiting allowed three runs on three hits with one walk.
Short-season Batavia was held to five hits in a 5-1 loss to Jamestown on Tuesday.
Neal Pritchard was 3-for-5 with his first three professional RBIs, helping rookie-level Johnson City beat Elizabethton, 8-7, on Tuesday.
Victor De Leon of the Gulf Coast League Cardinals got in on the trend of the day, pitching a good game in a loss. De Leon allowed two runs on four hits with three strikeouts and a walk in a 2-1 loss to the GCL Nationals on Tuesday.
Ottavino is the player of the day as he bounced back from rocky results in his previous two outings. Over his last five starts, Ottavino has gone at least six innings every time and racked up 36 strikeouts against nine walks in 32 2/3 innings. Ottavino, 25, was a first-round pick in the 2006 Draft. On the year, he's 3-5 with a 3.97 ERA, 86 strikeouts and 37 walks in 88 1/3 innings.
The Cardinals' July 31 game against the Cubs will start at a different time than originally scheduled. ESPN has picked up the game, which will now start at 7:09 p.m. CT.
Nick Punto made his first start at shortstop since returning from the disabled list on Wednesday. Punto only played second base on his Minor League rehabilitation assignment, and started at second on Tuesday night in his return to the active roster. La Russa said that Ryan Theriot was simply receiving a routine day off and should start on Thursday.
La Russa also said that reliever Mitchell Boggs had some back stiffness on Tuesday night and was unavailable. That was a one of the reasons that Fernando Salas pitched the final 1 2/3 innings of the series-opening win.
Right-hander Jordan Swagerty, the Cardinals' second-round Draft pick in 2010, has been moved from starting to relief for Class A Palm Beach. The move is intended to keep Swagerty's innings down in his first full professional season. The club has not ruled out the possibility of Swagerty continuing to climb the Minor League ladder as a starter.
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.