Better to start with good or bad? Let’s go with good.
The Cardinals won yet another game, which means their (very meaningless) spring training streak is now up to six. They’ve also won eight of their last nine and have the best spring record in the National League. Yay for things that don’t count!
Anyway, the Cardinals beat the Marlins 2-1 yesterday and received strong pitching performances once again.
And of those pitchers, Adam Wainwright threw five scoreless innings to bring his own spring streak to 14 innings without allowing an earned run. Adam gave up three hits, struck out five and walked one with his 65 pitches.
While those pitches didn’t take much effort — Rick Hummel quotes Adam as saying “Shoot, my hat’s not even wet” — manager Mike Matheny wants to still remain cautious with his workload:
“I think we’d be wrong not to still monitor. We haven’t changed the general philosophy. Today he went 65 pitches. The other guys have been going 70, 75. We could have thrown him out there one more inning. But it’s just not worth it right now.”
Matt Carpenter doubled to open the second, and Koyie Hill walked. A double steal moved both into scoring position, then Alex Cora floated an RBI single to center. St. Louis manufactured its second run when Hill raced home on Cora’s attempted steal of second.
Another double steal!
Back to Waino: yesterday was his first trip to the plate since September 2010. And, as Rick Hummel describes, he might have a bit of work to do on that front:
In a bunting situation, Wainwright did not square away on Carlos Zambrano’s first pitch, a slider that was a strike.
“I thought it was going to hit me in the forehead,” said Wainwright. “It’s been a while since I’ve seen a breaking ball.”
Without checking third-base coach Jose Oquendo for another sign, Wainwright blithely made himself ready to swing before Oquendo whistled to get his attention. The bunt was back on (Wainwright eventually fouled out).
“He looked at me and said, ‘What are you doing?’ And I said, ‘I’m not real sure,”’ said Wainwright.
“I was ready to hit and he was ready to give me a sign. I’ll pay a little more attention, I think.”
Yes, Adam, please pay attention.
Now, to the bad news.
The results of several days’ worth of tests done on Chris Carpenter showed that a nerve irritation is causing the weakness in his right shoulder. There is no definite timeline for his return. According to Rick Hummel in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “he certainly won’t be starting the season with the Cardinals and isn’t likely to be pitching for them for at least a couple of months.”The nerve irritation is not related to the bulging disc near his neck that was thought to be causing his problems, general manager John Mozeliak said in the Post-Dispatch article.
Nerve issues are not new for Carpenter, as we all know. They caused him to miss the playoffs in 2004 and hampered his comeback from elbow surgery in 2008. He also dealt with minor nerve trouble in 2010. There’s more on that from Rick Hummel:
“These are somewhat similar symptoms,” said Mozeliak, who added that once Carpenter had been engaged in a program to strengthen his shoulder, “he was usually able to pitch pain-free. A similar model will be used going forward.”
Mozeliak wrestled with how to categorize the Carpenter news other than saying, “The best way to look at it is that at least we have an understanding of what the next step looks like.
“But I guess there’s always a little bit of concern or hesitation when you just don’t know how long this could possibly be.”
“I think internally we can handle this,” he said. Righthander Lance Lynn has taken Carpenter’s turn the last two times out this spring and will pitch the fourth game of the season in Milwaukee on April 8.
“We’re optimistic that Carp’s going to be able to pitch this year,” Mozeliak said. “We hope that it’s sooner, rather than later.”
Christine Coleman is the senior St. Louis Cardinals reporter for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email email@example.com. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.