ST. LOUIS — St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright threw 35 pitches in a simulated game Tuesday and will begin what he hopes is a short rehab stint later this week.
Wainwright, the opening day starter, has been out nearly two months with a tendon injury in his right middle finger. He'll pitch again Saturday for a minor league affiliate and could rejoin the rotation next week, although he conceded he was a bit rusty and his delivery was out of sync.
He also said he threw the ball better in his last bullpen session. Cardinals manager Tony La Russa agreed with those assessments.
"You just don't walk out there and be in midseason form," La Russa said. "He's got to get a feel for his delivery.
"I'm encouraged he's healthy, and that's a good start."
Rick Ankiel homered off what Wainwright called a "sloppy hanging slider."
Wainwright said he wasn't happy with his slider in general and noted his body was in the wrong position to throw about half the time.
"I don't think I was very sharp by any means, but I would have gotten some outs today," Wainwright said. "I need to mechanically get a lot better, but my arm feels good and my finger feels great. I didn't have a second thought about it."
Wainwright thought he'd be ready after one rehab start, especially if he could iron out the mechanical woes in the next few days.
He felt good enough to pitch a few more innings, even in 98-degree heat.
"If I feel good, I think the results will be there," he said. "There's very few times you feel great and you don't do well."
The outing was divided into two innings, and Wainwright felt a lot more comfortable the second time out.
"The positive was the last slider I threw was the best one I threw," Wainwright said. "I was starting to feel stronger.
"There's times you go out there and you just don't have it right away, and you just find a way to get outs until you get comfortable."
* Ankiel missed his ninth straight start with an abdominal strain and La Russa already has counted him out for today as well after the outfielder had an extended workout Tuesday and still can't run without pain.