FORT MEYERS, Fla. – Adam Wainwright was strong in his first start since undergoing Tommy John Surgery last spring as the St. Louis Cardinals held on to beat the Minnesota Twins 3-2 Friday afternoon at Hammond Stadium
Wainwright threw 30 pitches, 15 for strikes, in his first start in over 530 days. He had a pair of strikeouts and a walk over two scoreless innings of work.
“It was business as usual really,” Wainwright told Derrick Goold after the game. “I felt completely just like my old self out there, to be honest with you… I feel like today was the next step.”
As for how he approached his first start in over a year, the Cardinals ace said he had a plan of attack, but admitted that he did not stick with it.
“I visualized every pitch before I got out there today,” Wainwright said. “I kind of had a plan for how I wanted to go about things. I really executed pretty well for the first time out there. To be honest with you I’ve never taken that kind of stuff out to a mound during spring training before. It’s usually during the season that I bring stuff like that. I was happy with the way it was coming out.”
The Cardinals struck first when Skip Schumaker hit a sacrifice fly off Jason Marquis to score Zack Cox, who opened the inning with a leadoff double.
After Minnesota drew a walk with the bases loaded to tie the game in the bottom of the fourth, St. Louis shortstop Rafael Furcal hit his first home run of the spring to deep right field.
Outfielder Shane Robinson preserved the lead in the bottom of the seventh with a bullet from center field to catch the potential tying run at the plate. He struck again just a few outs later, this time with an RBI-single to give the Cardinals a 3-1 lead.
Minnesota attempted to stage a late rally, drawing their second bases loaded walk of the afternoon with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to cut the score to 3-1. Class AAA closer Victor Marte buckled down for the Cardinals, inducing a first-pitch groundout from Rene Tosoni to pick up the save.
The Cardinals will return to Roger Dean Stadium Saturday afternoon for 12:05 matchup with the Miami Marlins.
Odds and Ends
- Overshadowing Adam Wainwright’s strong return was some bad news concerning Chris Carpenter’s status. As first reported this morning by Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Carpenter left camp this morning to seek a second opinion on neck discomfort that has plagued him for over a week. GM John Mozeliak said the results of Carpenter’s nerve testing are being sent to St. Louis for further evaluation.
- The former Cy Young Award winner said he started to notice the discomfort following a two-inning, 30-pitch live batting practice on March 3.
- Manager Mike Matheny told Goold that it is too early to start considering who could fill Carpenter’s spot in the rotation. “We don’t really [need to] go there right now,” he said. “We’ve got five starters. We’re just going to stay on our track until something tells us different. And that’s been our process and our thought philosophy since the beginning.”
- Furcal, Schumaker, Berkman, Jay and Descalso were among the “regulars” to start today for the Cardinals. Kyle McClellan also saw some action out of the bullpen.
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