02/25/2013 6:17 PM ET
Efficient Wainwright in 'good place to start'
By Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com
JUPITER, Fla. -- Making the first of six scheduled spring outings, Adam Wainwright was so efficient early in Monday's 10-2 win over the Astros that the Cardinals had to send him back to the mound for an extra inning in order for the right-hander to log a sufficient amount of work.
By the end of his scoreless 2 2/3-inning outing, Wainwright had thrown 48 pitches (27 strikes). He estimated that about a quarter of them were changeups, a pitch that he hopes can be more effective for him than it was at times last season.
"I was happy with it. It was a good place to start," Wainwright said. "I was just trying to be efficient out there and make pitches to get ahead in the count early on."
Wainwright said he assumes he'll be given the Opening Day assignment on April 1, though manager Mike Matheny has not promised it to him yet. One thing the Cardinals have decided, though, is that they won't have Wainwright make the maximum number of seven starts this spring.
Instead, the Cardinals will insert extra days of rest into Wainwright's schedule moving forward so that it lines up for him to throw six times. Last year, Wainwright made five Grapefruit League starts.
"Seven sounds like a lot," Wainwright said. "I think six is a better number. I want to save some bullets for the regular season."
Wainwright spent much of last spring trying to regain the arm strength lost while he recovered from Tommy John surgery. On Monday, he described his arm as feeling "completely different" than it was at this point in camp a year ago.
"It feels solid, strong," Wainwright noted. "It feels conditioned."
Molina may play first before joining Puerto Rico
JUPITER, Fla. -- The Cardinals are considering finding some playing time for Yadier Molina at first base before he leaves next Sunday to join his Puerto Rican teammates for the World Baseball Classic.
Don't read anything more into the move, though, than what it is -- which is to get Molina some repetition at a position that he could be asked to play only in the Classic. Molina is unlikely to catch every inning of every game in the Classic, so his ability to step in at first will likely be something Team Puerto Rico does as a way to keep Molina's bat in the lineup.
If Molina gets some time at first base in the Classic, there is a chance, too, that he and older brother, Jose, could be on the field together. Jose Molina, 37, is one of two other catchers on the roster. Yadier Molina has already been spending the spring with his other brother, Bengie, who is the Cardinals' new assistant hitting coach.
Carlos Beltran will also play for the Puerto Rican club, which is carrying six outfielders on its roster. That could create an opportunity for Beltran to get some time as the team's designated hitter.
In preparation for the Classic, Beltran has opted to stay on his normal spring routine. After playing in both of the Cardinals' weekend games, Beltran won't make his next appearance until Wednesday in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Adams improving, but held out of lineup
JUPITER, Fla. -- Matt Adams held himself out of the Cardinals' on-field drills for the second straight day on Monday because of soreness and swelling in his left knee. But, despite the inactivity, Adams reported improvement with his condition.
"It feels much better today," Adams said. "The swelling has gone down. I think if I stick with the stuff in the training room, I'll be good."
Uncertain as to what triggered the soreness Adams felt when he woke up on Sunday, the first baseman projected that he'll be cleared to return to the field within the next few days. He is listed as part of the Cardinals' traveling party for Tuesday's game in Fort Myers, Fla., though that does not necessarily mean he'll play against the Red Sox.
"We'll just wait and see how he feels," manager Mike Matheny said. "He felt significant improvement today and hopefully he continues to improve. We'll see how he's feeling and follow what the trainers need him to do."
With Adams and Allen Craig (right shoulder soreness) both unable to play first base on Monday, Ty Wigginton earned his second straight start at the position.
• Single-game tickets for games at Busch Stadium will go on sale at 10 a.m. CT on Friday. A pre-sale will take place on Wednesday, beginning at 10 a.m. CT, for those who plan to purchase tickets to at least three games. For more information on ticket prices and deals, visit cardinals.com/fanvalues.
• Right-hander Shelby Miller threw 35 pitches in a live batting-practice session on Monday morning. This marked the first time Miller had faced hitters since the Feb. 16. It was after that first round of live BP that Miller was bothered by soreness in his right shoulder.
• For the first time in several days, Rafael Furcal took swings from the left side during batting practice. He had been limited to swinging right-handed because of persistent discomfort in his right elbow.
• Matheny announced that Jake Westbrook will start for the club on Thursday against the Marlins. Joe Kelly will make his first Grapefruit League start the following day against the Astros in Kissimmee.
• Michael Wacha, the Cardinals' first-round pick from the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, is set to make his second spring appearance on Wednesday. He'll pitch behind starter Lance Lynn, who is expected to cover the first two innings.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.