Waino declares himself ready to return

Waino declares himself ready to return

MILWAUKEE -- Adam Wainwright described his side session on Wednesday as "awesome," and he believes he'll be ready to return to the Cardinals' rotation as soon as the club wants to plug him in. The earliest they'd do so would be Friday, when the Cardinals open a three-game series in Cincinnati.

Wainwright has missed two starts since going on the 10-day disabled list with mid-back tightness, and Wednesday marked his first time in more than a week that he tested his back by throwing off the mound. Wainwright felt no discomfort.

"It was as good or better than I ever thought it could be," Wainwright said. "I went [with] a little bit more [intensity] than I normally would. In my mind, there's nothing else I have to prove to be out there and ready to pitch."

Though Wainwright's spot in the rotation isn't due to come back around until Monday, manager Mike Matheny has said the club would consider inserting Wainwright back in before that date if he continues to check out medically.

"I'm always going to be an optimist, but this time has [allowed] my legs to feel good, my back feels good," said Wainwright, who is 11-9 with a 4.89 ERA this season. "My head is clear."

Late lineup change

First baseman Matt Carpenter, who has started a team-most 97 games, was scratched from Wednesday's lineup about an hour before first pitch due to right hip discomfort. The issue appeared to present itself late, as Carpenter did take the field with the rest of his teammates for batting practice on Wednesday afternoon.

Luke Voit replaced Carpenter at first base, while Kolten Wong moved into the leadoff spot for the eighth time this season. It was not immediately known whether Carpenter would be available to come off the bench, if needed, in the game.

Worth noting

• After going 1-for-4 in his return from the DL on Tuesday, Stephen Piscotty was out of the lineup on Wednesday. Matheny said Piscotty came through Tuesday's game without any physical issues, but that the club wanted to ease the right fielder back into play. Jose Martinez, who drove in a career-high three in his last appearance, drew the start in Piscotty's place.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. 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.