ST. LOUIS -- Adam Wainwright has pitched more innings than any other pitcher in the Majors. After 175 2/3 innings, the Cardinals called up rookie Michael Wacha to make a spot start for Wainwright on Saturday, allowing their ace an extra three days of rest.
But if you ask Wainwright, his first instinct would be to decline it.
"As a competitor, your knee-jerk [reaction] is to say it's not important. Give me the ball every fifth day and watch me work," Wainwright said. "I think it's smart sometimes to take a step back so you can take two steps forward. These couple of days now in the middle of August will be pretty beneficial down the stretch. I understand it. My arm responds well to that."
Wainwright threw lightly the first few days after his last start, but has primarily been pushing himself in the weight room and resting his arm before a bullpen session Saturday. He'll get back into his normal routine Sunday in preparation for his Tuesday start against Pittsburgh.
The 31-year-old right-hander has not set an innings limit for himself and said he isn't feeling any added stress from the heavy workload. The most innings he has pitched in one season is 233, a career high he set in 2009.
"Going into the year, I think if you set your limit at 200 innings, you're gonna start getting tired around that number," Wainwright said. "That's why I've never set an innings limit. I don't even know where I'm at. I'll look at that stuff at the end of the year. My job is to go out and pitch as long as I can, and that's what I'm doing."
Wainwright isn't concerned that the additional days off will knock him out of his routine. During the All-Star break, he took all four days off from even throwing a baseball.
"This part of the season, our arms are conditioned, our arms are trained," he said. "One day here, one day there doesn't make a difference."
Chad Thornburg is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.