St. Louis Cardinals’ starting pitcher Adam Wainwright is not a guy I care for all that much. In the past, he’s struck me as, perhaps, an overly-confident sort. Plus, he’s a Cardinal, so, there’s that.
As you can imagine, then, I’m not terribly interested in hearing his thoughts on how the Cubs are handling – or mishandling – converted started Jeff Samardzija. From Gordon Wittenmyer:
‘‘The more times he takes the ball, the better he’ll be in preparation for future seasons,’’ Wainwright, the St. Louis Cardinals’ ace, said of the Cubs’ starter.
Samardzija, a pitcher the Cubs now see as a key building block near the front of their rotation, shouldn’t be ‘‘babied’’ or put on rigid pitch limits, Wainwright said.
And for those who say you can’t go from 80 innings of relief to 200 innings of starting in one season?
‘‘Yeah, I did it,’’ Wainwright said ….
Even as a minor-league starter, Samardzija never reached 142 innings, part of why the Cubs’ brain trust has devised a plan that mostly involves watching his pitch counts and giving him extra rest between starts when the schedule allows.
Not necessary, Wainwright said.
‘‘What you have to realize is that your first season for a starter is very important,’’ he said. ‘‘There’s going to be ups and downs. Your arm’s going to feel dead at times. It’s going to lose its life sometimes, you’ll feel great other times. There’s peaks and valleys. But I think it’s very important for a starter to go through that. It’s great conditioning for future seasons. There’s lessons you learn when you don’t feel your greatest, on how to get outs. You have to find a way. And I think sometimes when you’re taken out of that and babied a little bit too much, you don’t learn those valuable lessons.’’
Do I have to say it? I have to say it, don’t I? I’m going to say it.
ADAM WAINWRIGHT HAD TOMMY JOHN SURGERY LAST YEAR!
Without a hint of irony, this guy goes out of his way to tell the Cubs that they’re “babying” Jeff Samardzija in his conversion from reliever to starter because they aren’t willing to jump him from 80 innings to over 200 in a year, as the Cardinals did with Wainwright.
No, I’m not saying the way the Cardinals handled Wainwright caused the injury that led to Tommy John surgery (that injury came a few years after Wainwright’s conversion). But that’s just the point! I’m not saying a thing about how the Cardinals chose to handle their own young starting pitcher, because I’m smart enough to know that I don’t know the first thing about his particular situation or the Cardinals’ considered beliefs about how to best use and protect young arms.
As a guy who is coming back from a serious arm injury and surgery, you’d think Wainwright would be smart enough to just keep his mouth shut about how the Cubs are choosing to protect Samardzija.