JUPITER, Fla. -- It was an innocuous session of live batting practice, one of eight that took place on the Cardinals' Spring Training practice fields on Friday. But symbolically, it was very much a milestone.
It had been 368 days since Adam Wainwright last threw a session of Spring Training batting practice, and that one ended in disaster. After feeling discomfort in his elbow that day, Wainwright walked off the mound knowing that his season was likely over. That fear was confirmed a few days later when it was announced that he would be undergoing Tommy John surgery.
As the schedule would have it, Wainwright was placed on Field 3, the same field on which everything went wrong a year ago. This time, though, the session ended with Wainwright smiling and shaking hands with manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Derek Lilliquist.
"This [gave] me a chance to conquer it," Wainwright said. "This [gave] me a chance to get over that."
During Wainwright's 11-minute stay on the mound, he threw both fastballs and offspeed pitches to Tyler Greene and Matt Adams. Wainwright, who began his throwing program earlier than most pitchers, said he was pleased with his command and that he found himself throwing with a little more intensity than he had in recent side sessions.
Wainwright also confirmed that he has not been dealing with any next-day soreness or tightness. All this has Wainwright on track to pitch a full slate of Grapefruit League games next month.
"Each time I throw, I let my body do it naturally," Wainwright said. "I'm not trying to force anything. I'm out there just going through my delivery and my arm. Whatever comes out of it is what's going to come out of it. Today, I noticed there was a little more something there then there was before."