As we all know by now, our season is resting on the return of two starting pitchers who battled injuries in 2008: Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright. Both have started pitching in spring training and the results are as good as they could be.
Chris Carpenter took the mound first thing this morning. He was scheduled to throw BP. He ended up throwing 30 pitches total to seven different batters. His pitches all had the velocity and movement he was looking for. The curve had it's trademark bite. The fastball had it's usual zip. The only struggle Carp had was locating the fastball, which he attributed to adrenaline. Carp dubbed today's workout the best he's had all spring.
Dave Duncan told reporters after Chris' workout, "I was tickled pink with the way he threw. He looks pretty normal to me." Carp has two more workouts scheduled before his first start of the Grapefruit League next Saturday.
"My arm felt great, my location was off a bit at the beginning," Carpenter said after his throwing session. "It was just fun to get back out there and be a part of it. I’m moving along in the direction that I want to move along." I think we agree that's great news to hear.
Adam Wainwright threw to his first hitters yesterday in BP. He was continuously able to paint the black at the knees with his fastball. He faced the Pujols, Mather, Duncan and even Schumaker took a break from second to get a few swings in. None of them were able to get solid contact off his stuff.
Pitching Coach, Dave Duncan, responded to Wainwright's performance: "You don't want to overstate it or get too far ahead of yourself, but from what I've seen him do and how he finished last season, he's got everything that you think of as a top-of-the-rotation starter. He's shown that. If he continues to improve, continues to gain experience, I don't think there's any doubt that's how he'll be looked at."
Wainwright, however, was not as impressed as his coach. "It was all right," he said. "I definitely left myself a lot of room for improvement. My off speed stuff was not where it needs to be. It was the first time out there, so it's tough to throw a good slider, cutter, changeup from behind your body. I've just got to get my body in a better position to throw the baseball."
The Tampa Bay Rays will be Wainwright's first challenge of the spring as he is slated to start against them on March 2. This will make Wainwright the last starter to get a start this spring.
Both pitchers appear to be strong and ready for a great season. Hope they're good enough to get nine innings every time out...