(Jupiter, FL) St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright gets it. Another year older. The Achilles injury from ’15. Lack of spin rate.
He may get it, but that doesn’t mean he has to like it.
“To say that I feel like I have something to prove is an understatement,” said Wainwright after his bullpen session on Thursday. “I don’t feel like I need to do that for the rest of the world, it’s for me. I was unhappy with the way I pitched last year and I want to do a lot better this year.”
That being said, the competitor that he is, hasn’t looked past or forgotten some of the critiques of his performance.
“On my phone, I’ve saved a couple of articles that I’ve read–I might have as well been Methuselah,” said Wainwright. “Gosh, people thought I was 150 years old and just way past my prime, I need to quit, and all this kind of stuff. I’m just going, guys, just relax. I had a bad year and I’m planning on coming back strong.”
According to the chapter of Genesis in the Bible, Methuselah lived to be 969 years old. He has also been identified as the grandfather of Noah.
Last season, Wainwright explained that as part of the healing from his Achilles injury, he was still working to regain his vertical leap–not to slam dunk, but rather to stabilize the plant leg in his delivery. Progress was made, but even more so entering this year.
“Tremendous, I’m able to throw through my delivery instead of spinning way off,” explained Wainwright. “When I’m pitching now, Zach Duke came behind me today and said ‘that’s the guy I remember’ which is good validation for me, because Zach saw me pitching when I was throwing pretty darn good. It’s just fun to be able to do things like I like to do them. Like I used to do them. And I’m going to do them like that this year.”
In a team sense, the Cardinals are also looking to get back to the playoffs after missing out last season.
“We have been here,” reminds Wainwright. “I’ve been here in 2007-8, we got whupped both years after coming off the World Series. Got back onto it in 2009, we were the best team in baseball. In 2010, we just barely missed it but we were a solid team. In 2011, we won the World Series and then we went on a pretty darn good run. It’s all about the guys in the clubhouse. I think everybody in here, it’s not just me, has something to prove.”
And because of that, don’t expect to radical a change to get back on track for 2017.
“No, no. The way we go about things is one of our strengths. We’re just going to keep doing what we do and that translates into wins.”
SNL AND FOWLER
–Wainwright has talked things over with new teammate Dexter Fowler, but there is one topic the two have yet to discuss. Saturday Night Live.
“My goal is to host the show,” said Wainwright, who was shown during a news sketch in 2006 hugging Yadier Molina after the Cardinals won the World Series.
This past off-season, Fowler appeared in a couple skits on the show after the Chicago won the World Series.
photo credit: STLBaseballWeekly.com,