Cardinals' Wainwright struggles vs. Tigers

Thursday, March 29, 2012
Adam Wainwright

JUPITER, Fla. -- Pitcher Adam Wainwright felt he was ready for the start of the season before St. Louis' 9-5 victory over Detroit on Wednesday.

Wainwright welcomed an upcoming outing against Cardinals minor leaguers as a final tune-up for the regular season after allowing four runs, three earned, over 4 2/3 innings.

"I was not good, that's for sure," Wainwright said. "That's the good thing about spring training, I have four days to go out and work on some stuff and get back and be ready for my next turn."

Wainwright, who was fighting an out-of-sync delivery that caused him to leave the ball up much of the afternoon, allowed his first earned runs of the spring in the third inning. Jhonny Peralta broke the scoreless tie with a single to right to drive in Austin Jackson. Brennan Boesch and Jackson scored on Andy Dirks' single to center two batters later.

Wainwright, who is coming off ligament replacement surgery that forced him to miss all of 2011, had pitched 16 1/3 innings without allowing an earned run.

St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said he wasn't surprised Wainwright finally plodded through a tough outing.

"What wouldn't be expected is all the outings we've seen up to this point -- that he competes and thinks his way through things when he doesn't have his best stuff," Matheny said. "That's pitching."

Wainwright attributed the poor outing more to the extended layoff following the surgery, adding that his surgically repaired arm felt fine.

"I don't know if it's good for anything other than it refocuses me," Wainwright said. "It shows me that I've got more work to do."

Matheny said Wainwright won't accompany the team when it travels to Springfield, Mo., for an exhibition against its Class AA club Monday. Wainwright instead will throw in Jupiter, either in a minor league spring training game or in a simulation against live batters.

Drew Smyly, Wainwright's mound counterpart for Detroit, also lasted 4 2/3 innings. He allowed three earned runs against a St. Louis lineup that could be the one Matheny uses on opening day.

Smyly, who is in a three-way battle to be the Tigers' fifth starting pitcher and was the Tigers' second-round selection in the 2010 draft, said afterward that the outing proved he was ready should he be chosen to begin the season in the majors.

"When you are facing that lineup three times in one game and you are able to have success, that definitely boosts your confidence," Smyly said.

The Cardinals scored their first run when Carlos Beltran's liner ricocheted off Smyly's left foot into foul ground on the first base side, which allowed Wainwright to score. Furcal scored on Matt Holliday's ground out to short one batter later.

Tyler Greene supplied the final run off Smyly by smacking his second home run of the spring to lead off the fifth.

The Cardinals used a three-run seventh to pull away for the victory, their eighth in a 10-game stretch that also includes a tie.


* Matheny said the club wants to ensure it is not pushing Allen Craig too quickly as he tries to return from offseason knee surgery. While Craig still could be on the opening day roster, Matheny made it sound as though it's more likely Craig would start the season on the DL in an effort to ensure he would be available for the final 150 games of the year.

* Outfielder Skip Schumaker (oblique) threw with teammates before the game but has yet to hit the ball. Schumaker almost is assured of starting the season on the DL.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: