By Rob Rains
JUPITER, Fla. - Adam Wainwright had an expected and predictable reaction Thursday to his first start of spring training.
“It was a good first step,” he said. “Got some stuff to work on. That’s what we’re here for.”
The Cardinals and Twins played to a 3-3 tie when the game was called after nine innings.
Wainwright had to work around three walks in his two innings of work, which elevated his pitch count to 47 pitches.
“I was behind in the count quite a few times and made pitches when I had to,” Wainwright said. “I missed my location about half the time, which is not nearly good enough.”
Wainwright’s second pitch of the spring went for a double into the right field corner, which set him up for a long inning.
“You’re not going to be very efficient when you have a leadoff double to start your outing,” said manager Mike Matheny.
Wainwright’s fastball topped out at 90 miles per hour as he also recorded three strikeouts.
“I working on a few wrinkles,” Wainwright said, “a few different things that I think are going to help me. … News flash: Last year I was hurt, so I was throwing very differently.”
Other news and notes from Thursday:
High: Oscar Mercado continued his impressive start to the spring, going 3-of-3 with an RBI and a stolen base, raising his spring average to .417.
Low: Tyler Lyons also made his first appearance of the spring and allowed a home run and walked one in his one inning of work.
At the plate: Marcell Ozuna hit his first home run as a Cardinal, crushing a ball down the left field line … Three of the young outfielders – Mercado, Randy Arozarena and Adolis Garca – combined for six of the team’s nine hits … Jose Martinez drove in the tying run in the eighth inning with a pinch-hit double … Jedd Gyorko made his spring debut and was 0-of-2.
On the mound: Josh Lucas struck out three in his two scoreless innings … Prospect Ryan Helsley allowed four hits and one walk in his two innings, leading to one run but was able to get a ground ball double play to get out of his second inning. It was one of four double plays turned by the Cardinals … Connor Greene and Ryan Sheriff also turned In a scoreless inning in relief.
In the clubhouse: Pitching prospect Jordan Hicks was returned to the minor-league camp. “He’s got some stuff to work on,” Matheny said. The early minor-league camp already is under way … Luke Gregerson is the only healthy pitcher in camp yet to appear in a camp but Matheny said the team is purposely bringing him along at a slower pace because of his long playoff run with the Astros last year. Gregerson’s debut could come Saturday in Orlando against the Braves.
Up next: Carlos Martinez will make his second start of the spring on Friday as the Cardinals host the Boston Red Sox. Tate Matheny is scheduled to make the trip from Fort Myers and hit leadoff and play center field.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains
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