JUPITER, Fla. -- For Adam Wainwright, the moment of clarity came disguised in an autograph request.
Asked by an autograph seeker to sign a photo of himself as he left the Cardinals' complex earlier this week, Wainwright was struck by what he saw on the image. The stride captured in the shot, which Wainwright believed was taken several years ago, was clearly longer than the one he had been incorporating into his delivery this spring. And so, after providing his signature to the man, he drove off with a plan to make the change.
Wainwright featured the longer stride on Saturday and shut out the Marlins over 4 2/3 innings. Wainwright struck out six, limited Miami to three hits and threw 44 of his 68 pitches for strikes. It was the most dominant of Wainwright's three spring performances.
"It was an easy adjustment to me, [because] it was more natural," Wainwright said. "I've got it ingrained in my memory now."
In between autographing that photo and taking the mound Saturday, Wainwright tested the two stride lengths during a bullpen session. With video coordinator Chad Blair filming the session, Wainwright threw several pitches with the stride he used last season and this spring. Then, he reverted back to the old one. Afterward, the analysis was obvious.
"I felt like it was improved," Wainwright said. "The life on the ball was better. I was working down better. I was able to mix and match speeds better."
Wainwright is scheduled to make three more spring starts before the regular season opens.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.