JUPITER, Fla. – Adam Wainwright realized a mechanical flaw in the oddest of ways last week.
“I was driving out of the park the other day and a guy handed me a picture to sign and I realized I was in a much wider position,” Wainwright said Saturday. “I was striding out a little longer to the plate, a little more arm swing in the back and that was from a couple years ago.
“So I looked at it and I compared it to how I had been throwing in spring early and last year and it was a lot shorter stride, a lot shorter arm swing. It was an easy adjustment. It was more natural. I went out there and probably lengthened my stride six inches or so and allowed my arm some time to get in the proper position and worked up, worked down and I also mixed in the slider today.”
Wainwright had a rough outing seven days ago against the Nationals when he allowed eight hits and five runs in three innings.
With the help of the fan and an extra bullpen session to work on his bigger stride, the right-hander had 4 2/3 scoreless innings Saturday against the Miami Marlins and allowed just three hits and had six strikeouts.
“It is pretty eye opening when you see something like that and say man that’s not what I feel like,” Wainwright said. “I had our video analysis operations specialist Chad Blair film my bullpen session, the first half I threw regular and the second half I threw the improved way and I felt like it was improved. The life of the ball was better, I was working down better, I was mixing and matching speeds better.”
Asked if he kept the picture or gave it back to the fan, Wainwright said, “I’ve got it engraved in my memory now, so I know where to start from.”
Wainwright said it was the first time he had received a useful pointer from a fan. He’ll have three more spring starts to lock in his wider stride before starting Opening Day in Arizona on April 1.