Adam Wainwright is “pretty stinking close” to “perfect rehab”

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Adam Wainwright is 12 months removed from Tommy John elbow surgery and one month into a throwing program designed to get him ready for spring training, and the Cardinals right-hander is making excellent progress in his recovery.

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that he threw 30 pitches to a catcher on Monday and then made 50 throws from 110 feet on Tuesday. He’s even started mixing in a few curveballs, although Wainwright admitted that he’s not sure if the throwing program allows for off-speed stuff yet.

He’s expected to begin throwing off a mound within a few weeks and will arrive in Florida a month ahead of spring training to continue his throwing program, which Wainwright called “pretty stinking close” to “the perfect rehab.”

Albert Pujols is obviously impossible to replace in the middle of the Cardinals’ lineup, but if Carlos Beltran stays healthy and Wainwright picks up where he left off as one of the league’s elite starters there’s a chance the team may be even stronger in 2012.

Sean Manaea pitches the first no-hitter of 2018

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Athletics southpaw Sean Manaea delivered his first career no-hitter against the Red Sox in a decisive 3-0 victory on Saturday night. Any thought of a perfect game was banished in the first at-bat, when Mookie Betts drew a leadoff six-pitch walk to open the first inning. From there, Manaea was nearly flawless, holding the Sox to four total baserunners and striking out 10 of 30 batters faced — a career record.

Manaea was gifted a three-run lead thanks to RBI doubles from Jed Lowrie and Stephen Piscotty and Marcus Semien‘s solo shot off of Chris Sale in the fifth inning. While the Red Sox managed to draw two walks off of Manaea, they didn’t come anywhere close to plating a run. Andrew Benintendi tried to break up the no-no in the sixth inning with an infield hit down the first base line, but strayed out of bounds and later saw his hit reversed on a call of batter interference.

Entering the ninth inning, the 26-year-old lefty was sitting at just 95 pitches through eight frames of no-hit ball. He quickly deposed Blake Swihart and Mookie Betts with a groundout and fly out, then walked Benintendi on seven pitches. Any threat the Red Sox might have posed was soon eliminated, however, as Hanley Ramirez ground into a force out to complete the no-hitter.

Manaea is the first A’s pitcher to toss a no-no since Dallas Braden’s perfect game against the Rays eight years ago. The last time the Red Sox were on the losing end of a no-hitter was also against an AL West rival, when the Mariners’ Chris Bosio clinched a 2-0 no-no on April 22, 1993. Manaea’s feat is even more outstanding given how dominant the Red Sox have looked this season: prior to Saturday’s defeat, they boasted a 17-2 record and had yet to be shut out during the regular season.