PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Adam Wainwright intends to stop experimenting, he said, when he takes the mound for his final Grapefruit League start next week. Before he does, though, he wanted to take one more opportunity to focus heavily on his changeup.
A pitch that has been on Wainwright's to-improve list all spring was, on Thursday, as effective as it's been in any of his five Grapefruit League starts thus far. It induced a handful of swings and misses -- "ugly swings," as manager Mike Matheny described them -- and garnered an out, as well.
Wainwright threw it in counts he normally wouldn't in order to get the additional repetitions, which, in March, are more critical than the results.
"I've really been working hard on it in between starts," Wainwright said of the changeup. "I threw a few good ones today. I also threw a few bad ones. But I threw more good ones."
Wainwright wasn't at his most efficient -- he threw 80 pitches in 4 2/3 innings -- and walked three. He did, though, hold the Mets to three hits and two runs, thanks, in part, to some strong defense played behind him.
Set to be the Cardinals' Opening Day starter, Wainwright will pitch one more time before facing the D-backs on April 1.
"I need to take next game," he said, "and really get my pitches where they need to be going into the regular season."
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.