Two starts into his Grapefruit League return from 2011's elbow surgery, Adam Wainwright has yet to allow an earned run. He added four innings with one unearned run to his tallies Sunday, floating around the low-90s and sounding pretty happy with himself in the immediate aftermath. (While they were at it, the St. Louis Cardinals got a perfect inning out of Eduardo Sanchez, another important pitcher with arm troubles in 2011.)
It's all good news for the Cardinals, whose big 2012 acquisition, unless Carlos Beltran turns in a Beltran-circa-2005 season, in almost inevitably going to be Wainwright himself. With much of the offseason worries focused on Chris Carpenter's neck, it's been easy to forget that Wainwright is on his way back from major surgery.
There's a lot of time for things to take a turn for the worse—the Grapefruit League is not baseball's most reliable indicator of MLB success—but so far things look good for the 20-game-winner the Cardinals somehow won the World Series without.
More Cardinals coverage, handpicked by the editors of SB Nation St. Louis:
- If the Cardinals have to spend significant time without Chris Carpenter, they'll be missing more than they know.
- Of course, now it's looking like they won't have to spend any time without Carp at all.
- If Carp or Waino go down, it's likely that cheap and effective will be the order of the day for the Cardinals' replacement plans.