Wainwright shifts focus to Bucs after rainout

Cardinals ace allows one run in 3 2/3 innings in last spring start

Wainwright shifts focus to Bucs after rainout

JUPITER, Fla. -- After an evening spent packing up his Florida home, Adam Wainwright will report to the Cardinals' spring complex for one final morning on Wednesday. There, he'll grab his iPad, cue up video and start prepping for the Pirates.

That's because next time, Wainwright knows, it counts.

"Next time out I'm facing each batter like it's the last time I'll ever face them," said Wainwright, the Cardinals' Opening Day starter for the fourth straight season. "Those at-bats here in Spring Training, as much as you try to make them the same intensity, you can't replicate once those lights come on and once those big league hitters are up there and the fans in the stands. It's an adrenaline that you can't fake."

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In his last appearance before Sunday's season opener, Wainwright threw 78 pitches in a rain-shortened start against Washington on Tuesday. The pitch count wasn't that far off from the one he targeted, though the efficiency was. Wainwright had hoped for crisper command, but felt a few minor mechanical tweaks before his next start would properly address the issue.

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"I have to get back to square one on a couple of things, but these are easy things I'm talking about," Wainwright said. "In the course of the season, you have to be able to make these adjustments real quick. Luckily today, when I needed to, I was able to make some good pitches. It's going to get a lot sharper than that."

Wainwright scattered five singles and allowed one run to the Nationals just before the game was halted due to lightning with two outs in the top of the fourth. He posted a 4.34 ERA over 18 2/3 Grapefruit League innings.

"My arm feels great, and that, I think, is the most important thing going forward and into the season," Wainwright said. "I think what would help me more than anything is to get away from what I was doing today and come back tomorrow, even just playing catch, work on things.

"I'm not worried about anything that is going on."

Up next for the Cardinals:

After Tuesday's rainout, Michael Wacha will make his final spring start on Wednesday, when the Cardinals meet the Marlins in a 12:05 p.m. CT game at Roger Dean Stadium. The game will air on MLB.TV and an exclusive free webcast. The Marlins will serve as the home team in what will be the seventh spring meeting between the pair of Jupiter-based clubs. Jordan Walden, who returned to the mound on Monday after a weeklong layoff, is expected to pitch in the game, as well.

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