Apropos that Flaherty In for Wainwright

What has been a strong Spring Training for Adam Wainwright comes with a disappointing finish as the St. Louis Cardinals pitcher will begin the season on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring.

The news was shared by Mike Matheny during his pregame media session today before the Cardinals faced Washington in their final game of the Grapefruit League–which Wainwright was originally scheduled to start.

In his three starts this spring, Wainwright posted a 0.94 ERA as he allowed one earned run in 10.2 innings pitched.

“Lalalalala,” replied Wainwright as he quickly raised his hands over his ears at the mention of his earned run average. ““Nothing. I just have to keep going. Just keep making pitches and keep going out there and executing one pitch after another and then we’ll see what happens during the season.”

Rookie Jack Flaherty has rejoined the team and will now open the season as part of the Cardinals rotation. The 22-year old right-hander had an impressive spring, striking out 20 batters in 13.0 innings pitched during his four starts.

Equally impressive was the way he finished last season–not on the mound, but in conversation with Wainwright.

“He sat me down at the end of the year last year and just said ‘hey, whenever you come in to clean your locker out or whatever, can I meet you and we’ll just talk baseball?’ shared Wainwright, who readily obliged. “We sat there for two hours-an hour and half or so and just talked shop. He just asked me question after question after question of what he could do for the off-season and what he needed to do during the season. I just really appreciated that,” said Wainwright. “A guy that took the time and thought that my knowledge was something that could be useful to him–I love that stuff. I wish I could do that everyday.”

“Just everything,” said Flaherty of their talk. “I remember wanting to talk with him and really just bounce everything off of him, any sort of questions I had. He was kind enough to give me his time. It was after the last game of the year he sat down with me until basically the clubbies kicked us out of the clubhouse. We just kind of talked baseball and everything. What got him to where he is now, where he was, and even on where he was planning on going. What his plans were for the off-season.”

“A lot of routines, what his routine was from the time he started to the next time out, the day of when he was pitching, if he watched a lot of video…Kind of when he would reflect on the season or if he was grading himself along the way during the year or just going through the year and just taking it each time out. There was a lot of good stuff in there to take away from it. It was really good. It was just great that he was able to give me some of his time.”

Borrowing from a practice that worked for him in high school, Flaherty began keeping a journal last off-season to detail all of his baseball lessons. The conversation with Wainwright is now included.

“Everything, everything’s written down,” said Flaherty. “It’s got stories that he told that I tried to write down as much as I could. Different things that he still remembers that help motivate him, even if it was a story or little piece of advice. That whole conversation is pretty much written down and something that I’ll probably hold on to and can always go back to.”

Per the reports from Matheny’s media session, Flaherty will slide in at the back of the Cardinals rotation which will now line up as Carlos Martinez, Michael Wacha, Luke Weaver, Miles Mikolas, and Flaherty. That change also means Wacha will take the mound for the St. Louis Cardinals home opener on April 5th, which had originally been planned for Wainwright.

photo credit: Brian Stull/STLBaseballWeekly.com

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