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.
Angels DH Albert Pujols passed Mark McGwire for sole possession of 10th place on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard, slugging his 584th career home run in the first inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays.
Mike Trout had already slugged a solo home run off of Jays starter Marco Estrada to bring Pujols to the dish. Pujols jumped on an 0-1 cut fastball, sending it out to left-center field, clearing the fence by a few feet.
Pujols, who finished 4-for-4 with the homer and an RBI double, is batting .257/.321/.441 with 24 home runs and 99 RBI on the year. His next target on the home run leaderboard is Frank Robinson at 586.
Orioles closer Zach Britton had appeared in a major league record 43 consecutive games without allowing an earned run, spanning May 5 to August 22. That streak came to an end on Wednesday evening against the Nationals.
The Orioles entered the bottom of the ninth inning holding a 10-3 lead, but reliever Parker Bridwell immediately found himself in hot water. He yielded back-to-back singles to Danny Espinosa and Clint Robinson. He was able to strike out Trea Turner, but walked Jayson Werth to load the bases. Daniel Murphy then crushed his first career grand slam to make it a 10-7 game. That prompted manager Buck Showalter to bring in Britton.
Britton, too, was knocked around. He served up a single to Bryce Harper, followed by a double to Anthony Rendon that scored Harper, pushing the score to 10-8 and ending Britton’s streak. Wilson Ramos reached on a fielder’s choice back to Britton, but the lefty finally finished the game by getting Ryan Zimmerman to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Britton now holds a nice 0.69 ERA with 38 saves and a 61/16 K/BB ratio in 52 innings of work this season.