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Lance Lynn and Michael Wacha to start in Monday’s split squad

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Two important pieces of the Cardinals’ pitching rotation will make their spring debuts to kick off the week.

St. Louis Cardinals v Atlanta Braves Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images

Following an early-offseason trade that sent long-time Cardinal Jaime Garcia to Atlanta and the season-ending injury to top prospect Alex Reyes, St. Louis’s starting rotation will don a different structure to begin the 2017 season than it closed out the 2016 campaign with.

Their new-look loop of hurlers is likely to feature two guys who will make their Grapefruit League debuts on Monday: Lance Lynn and Michael Wacha.

One of the Cardinals’ most consistent pitchers of recent years, Lynn’s streak of durability took a hit last year when he was shelved from big-league action for the entirety of the season while recovering from November 2015 Tommy John surgery.

The elbow surgery came after Lynn, now 29 years old, had started at least 29 games each year since 2012, his 126 total starts in the span trailing only Adam Wainwright’s 135 for most on the club. Despite missing a couple of weeks in June with a forearm strain and sustaining an ankle sprain in late August, Lynn started 31 games for the Cardinals in 2015 and maintained a 3.03 ERA and 3.1 WAR over 175 13 frames.

Lynn was able to do some rehab work at High-A Palm Beach and Double-A Springfield last August as the result of a smooth recovery and will make his first start of the spring in the home half of Monday’s split squad against Washington Nationals.

In the road portion of the two-game slate for Monday, Wacha will take the ball for the Cardinals in Fort Myers’ JetBlue Park against the Boston Red Sox.

Wacha, 25, is only a few years removed from his dazzling rookie performance in 2013, one he capped with being named the Most Valuable Player of the National League Championship Series. After that promising run to help the Cardinals secure the NL pennant, Wacha has sailed some rough waters, particularly on the injury front.

A few weeks prior to the All-Star break in 2014, Wacha was sidelined with a stress reaction in his right shoulder blade, an ailment that in a sense can’t be treated, being that there is no particular procedure to correct it. Over two months of rest later, Wacha was able to return to the mound and finished the season — and all of 2015 — before the injury flared late this past summer, hindering him from action for over a month down the stretch.

In 27 games (24 starts) last year, Wacha accumulated 138 innings, during which he worked to a 3.91 FIP and 7.43 K/9.

Neither Lynn nor Wacha will pitch very far in their respective outings (40 pitches seems to be the high-water mark for starters this time of year), but alas, these are important outings for right-handers looking to hold solidifying roles in 2017 and rebound from recent injury woes.

Lynn and Wacha’s starts can be tracked using the following links:

Nationals vs. Cardinals (Lynn)

Cardinals @ Red Sox (Wacha)