(BaseballStL) — After concluding 20 games in 20 days, the Cardinals are eyeing Thursday’s off day with eager stares.
In addition to providing a day of rest (a second day for star catcher Yadier Molina) May 1 also gives St. Louis a chance to skip the fifth spot in the rotation and start the Chicago series with ace Adam Wainwright.
“We had to watch Waino’s last start and see how his body- how his leg felt,” Mike Matheny said Tuesday. “You talk to a lot of these guys and when they feel right, when things feel on time, they don’t necessarily want to mess with that either. So we’ve just been kind of dancing around, waiting to see if he’s going to feel good.”
Wainwright clearly felt fine, recovering from tweaking his knee by throwing eight shutout innings and holding the Pirates to three hits for his fifth win of the year.
With the chance to get back to the top of the rotation, the Cardinals moved Tyler Lyons into the bullpen and tapped the 32-year-old Wainwright for Friday’s start.
“Everything we got back from him was he was excited to get back out there on regular rest. Kind of stay in the groove he’s been in,” Matheny Said. “I think we all agree he’s been throwing the ball exceptionally well and sometimes raying in that routine can be a benefit.”
For Lyons, the move to the pen will mean a change in role more than a change of venue. Matheny asserted the young lefty will continue to get innings, even if he is slated for use as a starter down the line.
“He’s going to get work one way or another. At some point we’ll have to stop and refresh him with a good bullpen but until that point we have the ability to stretch him out,” he said.
Joe Kelly will travel with the team during the upcoming road trip, indicating he is continuing his return on schedule.
He has yet to throw of a mound, but has thrown long toss and flat ground sessions to maintain arm strength.