Lance Lynn (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The appearance of St. Louis pitcher Lance Lynn in a Florida State League game Monday night tops the system’s Monday minor league news.

The appearance of St. Louis pitcher Lance Lynn in a Florida State League game Monday night tops the system’s Monday minor league news.

Lynn stepping up intensity

On Monday, the St. Louis Cardinals sent right-handed pitcher Lance Lynn on a rehab assignment to the high-A Palm Beach Cardinals. The 29-year-old got right into game action, tossing 19 strikes in 27 pitches over 1 2/3 innings Monday night. Lynn allowed one hit and struck out two in his scoreless stint.

Lynn, who had Tommy John surgery in November 2015, could put himself in position to help St. Louis’ bullpen in September and October with continued progress. Currently on the 60-day disabled list, a 40-man roster move would be required for his return, but not with the 25-man in September when rosters expand.

Lynn is expected to rejoin the big-league rotation in 2017, the final year of his current contract.

(I took the above photo three months ago, as Lynn was throwing a bullpen in Jupiter, six months from surgery.)

Rivera misses minimum

On Monday, the Palm Beach Cardinals activated catcher Chris Rivera from the seven-day disabled list. The right-handed hitter was out the minimum seven days only.

In multiple stints with Palm Beach this season totaling 94 at-bats over 28 games, the 21-year-old Rivera’s slash line is a modest .170/.269/.213/.481. He also appeared in 13 games at State College, batting .147.

Zavala’s work is done

With the return of Rivera to the active roster at Palm Beach, Stephen Zavala was returned to the Johnson City Cardinals. He made the reverse move exactly one week ago. With Palm Beach, the right-handed hitter had two singles, a walk and two strikeouts in seven plate appearances over three games for a slash line of .333/.429/.333/.762.

The 23-year-old, St. Louis’ 37th round draft pick in 2015, also appeared in 17 Appalachian League games, with a very odd slash line of .184/.365/.306/.671. That is a result of Zavala having more walks, 11, than hits, nine. He also struck out in 12 of 49 at-bats.  

Peoria rotation receives boost

Peoria activated right-handed pitcher Ryan Helsley from the seven-day disabled list on Sunday. He had been out since June 28 with right bicep tendinitis. Starting for the Chiefs on Sunday, the 22-year old allowed one run over three innings on two hits and no walks. Helsley fanned three.

His solid return outing actually increased his season ERA to 1.93 over 14 starts. Helsley has fanned 86 and walked 17 in 79 1/3 innings this season. The Cardinal Nation’s 36th-ranked prospect was a 2016 Midwest League mid-season All-Star.

The Chiefs were under their 25-man roster maximum, so did not need to make another transaction to accommodate Helsley’s return.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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