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Adam Wainwright on track for normal spring, normal season

Jan 15, 2012, 11:31 AM EDT

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Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright is over 10 months removed from Tommy John surgery and has not experienced any sort of setback. He recently shifted his rehab base to the team’s spring training facilities in Jupiter, Florida and is expecting to be at full strength by the time St. Louis’ other pitchers arrive.

Cardinals GM John Mozeliak has been saying that Wainwright will be limited to around 150-170 innings this season as a precautionary strategy, but the 30-year-old right-hander is hoping to defy that.

Here’s Wainwright, speaking Saturday at the Cardinals’ Winter Warm-Up (via MLB.com’s Jen Langosch):

“One hundred and fifty innings sounds like half a season to me,” said the 2010 NL Cy Young Award runner-up. “Any pitcher that is out there competing [his] tail off and is decent at what he does should throw more than 150 innings. That would never ever be a goal of mine. I kind of refrain from setting inning goals, especially this year.”

Wainwright posted a 2.42 ERA and 213/56 K/BB ratio across 230 1/3 innings in 2010, and a 2.63 ERA and 212/66 K/BB ratio over 233 innings in 2009. He’s averaged 199 innings per year since the ’07 season.

  1. crisisjunky - Jan 15, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    Prob closer to 175-180 IP, (conservatively) with luck perchance 25 starts, conceivably 15 Wins
    and along with Beltran filling a huge chunk of WAR gone off to Anaheim.
    If they find Greene can be decent @2B, the Post-Albert edition will be an outstanding scoring team.
    All is well and good in Cincy, but St.Lou looks like the division winner with a healthy Wainwright.

    • cintiphil - Jan 16, 2012 at 11:32 AM

      You know what they say. Don’t count your chickens etc. One guy doesn’t make a team. No one knows how effective he will be coming back from surgery, no matter how good he feels now.

  2. okwhitefalcon - Jan 15, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    It’s great having Wainwright back, not sure if I’m ready to jump on the “favorites to win the division” bandwagon just yet.

    So much uncharted water to navigate, I can’t recall a defending World Series Champion who’s gone through some much change from one season to the next.

    Alot of unknown and intrigue for the Cards this season, it’s going to be interesting to see how things unfold.

    • paperlions - Jan 15, 2012 at 2:29 PM

      They are kind of the default favorites. The Reds still have a lot of holes (especially on offense), they added a starter and some bullpen depth….they only won 79 games last year; the Brewers likely will be worse, the Cubs, Astros, and Pirates aren’t in the discussion. If you were going to lay odds, the Cardinals have to be the division favorites….all they lost was Pujols; added Beltran; the bullpen will be better to start the year; Theriot is gone, addition by subtraction; Berkman gets to play 1B, which should help keep him healthy through the year; Wainwright will be back; Freese is healthier than he’s been for years; Skip won’t be a starter (more addition by subtraction)….and if they don’t add Oswalt, they should have the money to make in-season upgrades.

  3. okwhitefalcon - Jan 15, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    One more Cards note, it was revealed at the Cards Winter Warm Up yesterday (per Joe Strauss of the STL Post Dispatch) the organization turned down Showtime’s offer to be the focus of the upcoming season of “The Franchise”.

    Probably a smart move although it would have been cool to see this club develop it’s personality
    with everything that’s gone on since the end of last season.

  4. The Baseball Idiot - Jan 15, 2012 at 3:10 PM

    They won the World Series. They are the team to beat until someone actually beats them. Which won’t happen until they are eliminated from the playoffs.

  5. jeffthomasb - Jan 16, 2012 at 9:58 AM

    Nice observations by everyone. I agree with Falcon, though, about big changes for a championship team. Last year’s Cards had Pujols and LaRussa, and didn’t have Wainwright. This year there’s Wainwright, Beltran and Matheney. Totally different vibe going into the year. Hopefully the team will be a little more solid to start (in particular the bullpen), and perhaps Holliday will step up and be a slightly more consistent beast than he’s been in Pujols’s shadow.

  6. cintiphil - Jan 16, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    Jeff is the only one who makes sense here. No one will know what the effect of losing Albert, TLR and Duncan has on this team until the play starts. Everyone feels like a winner in Spring training. I don’t believe that losing so much talent and baseball wisdom (Duncan-LaRussa) has no effect, and that anyone else can just fill in as well as they need to. As far as holes in the lineup, you guys are over evaluating the birds staff because of age and some new blood you expect to be good (the new guy Lance ???). The Reds pitching will out perform the Cards in the coming year even with Wainwright. And, that is about 70-80% of the game, right?

    • jeffthomasb - Jan 16, 2012 at 5:02 PM

      Ouch– in the fog of my morning I had totally forgotten about Duncan. And Phil’s dead right to put him into the mix. Lilliquist will be capable (as he proved in microcosm at the end of last season), but Duncan is Duncan, and his absence will leave an important hole. I’m really looking forward to seeing how all this plays out.

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