Wacha not walking, issues first free pass of spring

Carpenter removed as precaution after HBP; Matheny sets pitching schedule through Saturday

Wacha not walking, issues first free pass of spring

JUPITER, Fla. -- Michael Wacha, like most players, doesn't concern himself much with Spring Training statistics. That is, except for one.

"One I look at," he admitted, "is walks."

Wacha has to like what he's seeing these days from that stat line, as his strong spring continues to be mostly absent of any free passes. After opening Grapefruit League play with 13 2/3 walk-free innings, Wacha did issue one in the Cards' 1-0 win over the Nationals on Wednesday. It was a brief blip, however, and the only free baserunner Wacha allowed over his 5 2/3-inning start.

Wacha's strong showing

"That's been one of the things coming into Spring Training -- filling up the zone, and not just with strikes, but with quality strikes," he said. "I've been pretty happy with my ability to throw strikes so far this spring. I'm just going to continue to work on it and continue to pound the zone."

Wacha, who has logged 15 1/3 spring innings, has one more scheduled Grapefruit League appearance before the season opens.

"He's right where he needs to be," manager Mike Matheny said. "He looks great. I like what he's doing."

Other news and notes from the day at Cardinals camp:

• Third baseman Matt Carpenter exited Wednesday's game because of a right quad contusion, sustained when he was hit by a Max Scherzer pitch in the first inning. When Carpenter went out to play the field in the second, his leg began to tighten up. Matheny pulled him out the following inning.

"He did not want to come out of that game," Matheny said. "But part of the plan is we would get him in there often ... then if there is ever a time when we need to pull back, we can, without any concern at all. He wasn't happy about it. But it's one of those things that hit him square on the quad. That can potentially lead to something else, so why risk it?"

Carpenter hit by pitch

• Matheny announced that John Lackey (vs. Mets) and Carlos Martinez (at Washington) will draw the starts for the Cardinals' split-squad games on Friday. Lance Lynn will then start Saturday's game against the Tigers, with Marco Gonzales following him in relief. If Gonzales can't get enough work in the game, he will follow up his appearance by throwing extra pitches in the bullpen.

• Though Matheny did not disclose his starting pitching plans beyond Saturday, the schedule sets up to have lefty Jaime Garcia start on Sunday. That would offer the Cardinals a final look at Garcia before deciding where he fits for the start of the season.

• Prior to Wednesday's game, players and staff from the Rookie-level Johnson City (Tenn.) club were presented with their 2014 Appalachian League championship rings. Johnson City was one of two Cardinals affiliates to win a title last season.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.