Adam Wainwright continued his march toward a return for the St. Louis Cardinals, logging two innings during a Thursday bullpen session. It was the third such session Wainwright’s completed since undergoing season ending surgery earlier this year.
While the Cardinals have been focusing intently on their goal of making the playoffs this season, the club received some positive news regarding Wainwright; a player they hope can contribute to next year’s postseason run.
During his third bullpen, Wainwright threw 40 pitches. To reach his total, Wainwright logged 20 throws, took a breather, and finished the session with a second round of 20. By doing this, the Cardinals are hoping to not only build Wainwright’s pitch count but also get him conditioned to the ups and downs of a start.
Wainwright only threw his fastball Thursday. St. Louis expects a changeup to be added, but Wainwright will likely hold off on throwing breaking balls for a while longer.
The Cardinals plan on having Wainwright continue his rehab process into October, but the 30-year-old will be shut down through November and December. This time off would act as a normal offseason break for Wainwright, who would then resume throwing in January.
Though I’m sure fans don’t want to hear it, it’s scary to think what the Cardinals could have done this season with a healthy Wainwright. The big right-hander had been excellent for St. Louis since joining their starting rotation in 2007.
Wainwright turned things up a notch a couple of years ago and has gone on to compile 39 wins over the past two seasons. Wainwright sports a career ERA south of three and was considered one of the best starters in the league entering the year. Unfortunately, injury ended Wainwright’s season before it began.
While the Cardinals are still fighting for their playoff life, they can rest a little easier when they look ahead, even with the question marks surrounding Albert Pujols’ future with the club. Combined with the recent extensions of Lance Berkman and Chris Carpenter, Wainwright and the Cardinals seem poised for another solid year.
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