Wainwright had resisted coming back as a reliever, when there had been a strong indication that he would be asked to do that.
"I feel where my long-term value is is as a starter," said Wainwright, who was a relief star for the 2006 World Series champions. But he added, "It doesn't matter what I do now. Whatever the team needs."
A good outing means Wainwright almost certainly would start against wild-card leader Milwaukee in St. Louis on Wednesday.
NOTES AND QUOTES
--RHP Jason Isringhausen, who is out for this season with a torn tendon near his elbow, hasn't given up on coming back next year at age 36. In a text message to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, he wrote, "Tons of desire. Mind is willing. Just gotta get the body there." For the moment, Isringhausen will rest rather than undergo surgery.
--RHP Josh Kinney, out since spring training of 2007 with elbow issues that required surgery, will begin a rehab assignment with Class AA Springfield on Sunday.
--RHP Todd Wellemeyer, who was picked up on a waiver claim from Kansas City last year, is 14-6 since joining the Cardinals rotation, including 11-4 this year. C Jason LaRue, who was with him for a while in Kansas City last year, said, "It's a 100 percent turnaround. Unfortunately it's a game of failure. Sometimes you let that get in your head. From what I saw last year, some of the failure started getting to him. Now he knows that it doesn't matter if he fails or has a great start. He'll bounce back the next time out."
--INF/OF Felipe Lopez, picked up after Washington released him, has started at four positions already -- third base, shortstop, second base and left field -- and has gone 13-for-40 (.325) in the process. Third base coach Jose Oquendo, a fellow Puerto Rican who is very familiar with Lopez, said, "He has a lot of tools. He can run. He can hit from both sides. He's got a little pop, although he's more of a line-drive hitter.
"But for him to be bouncing from place to place in the majors leagues ... why? That's why I've tried to talk to him and say, 'Man, you can't be that way. What do you want to get out of the rest of your career? Do you want to push it to the max or do you want to go with the flow?'"
BY THE NUMBERS: 17 -- Players, including OF Ryan Ludwick, who have hit 30 or more homers in a season for the Cardinals.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We want to get him right. You don't want to rush something and have him have a problem again." -- Pitching coach Dave Duncan, on the Cardinals' decision to put RHP Chris Carpenter back on the disabled list, this time with a shoulder strain.