Michael Wacha is “real happy” with how his shoulder feels

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Michael Wacha reported to spring training early and threw a bullpen session over in the weekend in front of Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, saying afterward:

I definitely wanted to come into spring training ready to go. Obviously I’m not going full-out bullpen there. I was real happy with the way the ball was coming out. The way pitches were looking and coming along. There’s still a bunch of work left. It’s definitely making good progress.

Wacha battled a stress reaction in his shoulder last season and enters this year as a major question mark, but Matheny told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis post Dispatch that the 23-year-old right-hander “has something to prove” and has given every indication that he feels good.

With a 3.04 ERA and 159/52 K/BB ratio in 172 career innings through age 22 he’s a huge part of the Cardinals’ plans this season and long term, so keeping Wacha healthy and getting him back on track is one of the biggest stories to watch during spring training.