JUPITER, Fla. -- A year past the point of having reservations about his surgically repaired right elbow, Adam Wainwright took the mound on Wednesday to begin the buildup process toward Opening Day. He was one of 13 pitchers to throw a side session on the second day of Cardinals camp.
"It went great," Wainwright said afterward. "It was very controlled and the ball is coming out nicely. Right now I'm just trying to get my arm in the proper position and make sure I'm getting the different spin. Everything is going good."
Though Wainwright had no troubles during his recovery from Tommy John surgery, he spent last spring routinely answering questions about his health. His outings were heavily scrutinized, as everyone wanted to see for themselves that Wainwright looked in old form.
He hushed those concerns with a setback-free spring and an uninterrupted season. Wainwright did not miss a start in 2012 and finished with 14 wins.
He'll likely make five or six starts during Grapefruit League action this year, though Wainwright said he isn't so concerned about logging innings as he is making sure he's prepared with all his pitches.
"I'll let it naturally happen," said Wainwright, who would seem to be the leading candidate to pitch for the Cardinals at Arizona on Opening Day. "When I go back to the mound two days from now, whatever my arm puts out, it'll put out. I won't strain it too hard. And each time out, I'll progress a little more naturally."