Adam Wainwright throws live batting practice


ST. LOUIS — When it was revealed that the designated hitter would be implemented in the National League this year, there might have been no one more crushed than Adam Wainwright. He tweeted a "so long" to the NL as he knew it and implored manager Mike Shildt for one more at-bat.

And even though he won’t have a bat in his hands this season, the veteran right-hander said Saturday that he wants to continue taking swings, seeing pitches live and tracking balls — just in case.

“I’ve got 15 years of bunting a ball, where these other guys don’t,” Wainwright said. “Very comfortable up there doing that kind of thing. Very comfortable hitting home runs. I’d love to continue to do those kinds of things. I’m also very comfortable striking out. I don’t want to do that anymore. I will miss using the bat, for sure.”

Wainwright threw four innings of live batting practice during Sunday’s workout and said it was his third time pitching four innings. Every time he’s pitched — whether it was into a net in his driveway or on the mound at Busch Stadium — he went through his pregame routine to treat each session like a start. Sunday was the first time he put on a Cardinals uniform and faced hitters in the humid July heat.

One thing was different, though: He didn’t hit.

“As I was walking down the tunnel after my fourth inning, I went, ‘I just pitched at Busch Stadium, and I didn’t hit or run the bases or see a pitch from the plate at all.’ That was weird. That was different.”

Guess who caught Waino’s Live BP 😉#STLCards

— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) July 5, 2020

Never say never, though, right? In a shortened season, anything can happen. Shildt said he’s thought about the idea of keeping Wainwright and another pitcher sharp enough to where they could execute a bunt or a hit in a situation that calls for them.

“You show up and there’s a particular day where guys have been asked to quarantine … or they’re forced to stay away from the ballpark,” Shildt said. “Or somebody’s banged up and we get into extra innings and we’re short on a position player. Then yeah, he’s got the experience to go in and be able to get an at-bat and take an at-bat. Get a bunt down. I hope it doesn’t turn out to be a reality, but it’s something that we have to look at and know that he’s more than capable of doing it.”

Worth noting
• Kwang-Hyun Kim and John Gant also threw a live batting practice on Sunday. Kim and Wainwright played catch and worked out together in St. Louis during the time off, which allowed Wainwright to get to know his new teammate better.

“He’s very fast,” Wainwright said. “He smokes me in races all the time. But very quality individual. Him and Craig [Choi], his interpreter, are both great people. I had good conversations with them the whole time. I told them the other day, I am so thankful they were here because throwing with a net for a while, I thought, ‘Oh, this is really great. I love this.’ And then you just don’t know what you’re missing out on when you throw with a big league pitcher who plays a great game of catch, when you can do more things and get their feedback on the ball and how it’s coming out.”

Kwang Hyun Kim on the mound 👊

— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) July 5, 2020

• Andrew Miller, who talked with reporters Sunday about serving on the MLB Players Association executive subcommittee, also said he expects to be ready for Opening Day. The left-handed reliever was dealing with sensation issues in Spring Training and had only thrown in one live game, but he was able to work through the problem during the time off. He was able to throw bullpen sessions and one live batting practice, and he said that he had some vitamin deficiencies that could have been part of the issue.

“There was no real moment where the fog cleared or anything, but it does seem like every day, every week, is better than the last,” Miller said. “It just kind of turned into a continuation of the offseason, to be honest with you.”


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