(BaseballStL) — Wednesday marked a major checkpoint for Cardinal ace Adam Wainwright. As the club and fans alike held their breath, the 32-year-old threw his bullpen session.
After missing one start to allow his elbow tendonitis to heal, Saturday’s start came down to how his nine-win arm responded to rest.
From everything he said, the flipper felt fine.
“This is something that we’ve got alleviated now,” he said. “Had I been a little silly and went out and pitched and threw a 100-something pitches grinding through a tough game, could’ve set myself back three or four starts. We missed one to stay on top of things for the rest of the season.”
Wainwright’s tone was one of relief more than expectancy, which perhaps indicated some uncertainty from the two-time All Star as to how quickly the issue would be resolved.
“It was incredibly annoying,” he said of the elbow soreness during his last start. Wainwright confirmed the discomfort he felt was gone, and said he will be on the mound as scheduled.
He worked through all of his pitches in the bullpen session Wednesday, saying it was essentially a normal side day. As with all of his off-day work, Wainwright backed off the velocity while still simulating game action.
“Have you seen my bullpen sessions?” he joked with reporters. “You could catch them with a Kleenex.”
Wainwright doesn’t go full-tilt on the radar gun until game day, wanting instead to reserve the next level for opposing hitters.
“I’m a bullet saver,” he said. “Always have been.”
By backing him off, the Cardinals may have saved a bullet of their own with Wainwright. He said he doesn’t expect to have any lingering issues with his arm, but Mike Matheny said before Wednesday’s game, the club will watch it close.
“The reason we take this little break is to hope that it won’t return, but we just have to keep watching it. If we need to take more time we take more time.”