RM: Adam, it's been a few weeks since we had an opportunity to talk and I just want to congratulate you on making the team this season.
RM: One thing we talked about in spring training was that you were approaching the game as a starter, when you were coming in out of the bullpen. Now that you are here and actually working out of the bullpen, does that change your approach to the game?
AW: It doesn't change my approach, you just got to be ready, it changes your awareness, you have stay ready all the time, just be ready when you are called.
RM: As a reliever, it's so important to get that first out and there isn't a margin for error that you can make up with the next batter or the next inning if you are starting. Do you think when you are coming in the game as a reliever, that you are more focused than perhaps you would be starting a game?
AW: I don't think you are more focused, you have to be just as focused as a starter, you just have to stay focused the whole game. As a reliever, you are right, you do have to really get that first batter, but there is no difference, as a starter you need to get that first batter.
RM: First of all, I agree with the Cardinals bringing you up now and using you out of the bullpen. I do have some concerns.
You pitched 184 innings last season, and as a member of the bullpen you will probably pitch about 60-70 innings. The Cardinals see your future as a starter, as such, you will be required to go back up to pitching 180-200 innings next season. Do you see this as a potential problem?
AW: I think this year should give me a good rest period and give my arm a chance to rebuild and get stronger. I don't think it should be a problem.
RM: I talked with Dave Duncan and he said you need to focus on your responsibilities to the team for this year and that you can't afford to look to next year.
AW: That's right.
RM: I was wondering, considering that your future is that of a starter, concerning your conditioning, do you plan on changing your off season training program to prepare for next season?
AW: No, I like my off season program. The last couple of seasons I have come into spring training ready to play and in top shape and I'll just keep it at that, whether I'm a starter of reliever.
RM: So in your mind, there is nothing negative about being used as a reliever, as it relates to your future as a starter?
AW: No, (laughter) there is nothing negative about being in the major leagues.
RM: My concern with you Adam, is about the big change in innings pitched from this season to next and your conditioning.
AW: Mainly I will condition this season like the other relievers do. My arm is in good enough shape to throw three, four or five innings right now, that will be fine.
RM: Do you need a couple of days rest after pitching 3 or 4 innings, that is the position of the team right now?
AW: Whatever they say, I will be ready to pitch the next day. But probably a couple of days rest is correct.
RM: Ok, Adam thanks for your time and good luck.
AW: Thank you.
Adam Wainwright, is a top prospect and the real deal. He is one of the Cardinals future starters and this year he is working out of the bullpen. A move I agree with and promoted while I was at spring training.
I do have some concern about Wainwright going from pitching 184 innings from last season down to 60 - 70 innings this season and then being required to go back and pitching perhaps, 180 -200 innings next season.
Apparently, I'm the only one who is worrying. Pitching Coach Dave Duncan and Adam Wainwright, both don't see a need to change his conditioning and workout program this season to ensure that he will be able to be a starter next season. Their focus is on the job at hand. Adam is a reliever and he needs to focus on that and I understand that position.
Something we all agreed on is, the positives of Wainwright working out in the bullpen this season for the Cardinals far outweigh Adam starting at Memphis.
My take is, that Adam should perhaps be on a slightly different conditioning and workout program then the other relievers. In the event of an injury to a member of the rotation, Wainwright may be required to step into the rotation this season, for sure he should be a starter next season.
The question is, will he be ready?