(Busch Stadium) Before today’s game, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright smiled at the idea of possibly facing his friend and former teammate Albert Pujols this weekend.
“Is he–do I know him?,” Wainwright laughed. “He’s had a great career, it’s been fun to watch.”
While noting he didn’t want to give Pujols any bulletin board material, Wainwright couldn’t resist having a little more fun with the possible scenario.
“I’d have to consider calling my own game,” he chuckled. “Without Yadi knowing what was coming, just in case he started telling Albert what was coming. No, he wouldn’t do that.”
But alas, the matchup of Wainwright on the mound, Molina catching, and Pujols batting in front of Cardinal fans will likely not happen as Mike Shildt announced a different plan for the rotation.
“Tomorrow, we’ll go with Ponce then we’ll go with Waino–who’s in heavy, heavy, heavy pencil,” Shildt said after Wainwright had completed his work in the batting cage and pitcher fielding practice. “I was out here watching and seemed like he did well, but I haven’t got the official report that he’s gone through that and recovered. As of now, it will be Ponce, Waino, Wacha.”
The duo of Dakota Hudson and Miles Mikolas would then close out the weekend series against the Los Angeles Angels.
Recovering from a left hamstring strain, Wainwright threw a bullpen yesterday and did agility work. He is scheduled to run the bases tomorrow.
As for Albert Pujols making his first return to St. Louis since signing as a free agent with the Angels after 2011…
“I hope he just gets the ovation of a lifetime,” Wainwright said. “Honestly. I think had he stayed here, probably would’ve been the greatest Cardinal to ever live. Still in the conversation. Obviously, as great as Stan is and Bob, and Ozzie, and all those great Cardinals, I think Albert would’ve at least been in the conversation. Already is in the conversation, but probably would’ve passed all of them because he was so great. He was doing so many amazing things.
“I just can’t say enough about him and how much he did for me as a player, teaching me about pitching in big situations. Game planning with me, talking through things. Watching him compete and grind through injuries. Just a very talented person, obviously, but he was a great friend of mine.”
The matchup between Wainwright and Pujols wouldn’t be the first as the Cardinals traveled to Anaheim a couple of years ago. According to Baseball Reference, Albert has one hit in seven at-bats against his friend.
“It was the ninth, he got a hit off me in the ninth,” Wainwright recalled. “I can’t remember what my name is half the time or I never know what day of the week it is and my wife can tell me on the way home ‘hey, can you stop at the store?’ and I’ll get home and forget to stop at the store, but I can remember almost every at-bat of my whole career against every hitter. Yeah, that’s my weird thing. But it’s good for my profession.”
photo credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports