By COREY NOLES
"Yes. It's official."
St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright said Wednesday morning that he is on track to make his Saturday start against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Wainwright, 9-3 with a 2.15 ERA, missed a start this week due to what was described by the team as "tennis elbow."
He threw a bullpen session Wednesday morning and said he feels good moving forward and added that the skipped start was out of an abundance of precaution.
"Had we made my start yesterday it probably would have been OK, but I wasn't really sure," Wainwright said. "I didn't want this to linger."
Overall, he said he isn't feeling the issues that he was in his most recent start on June 109.
The feeling that I had last game was incredibly annoying--incredibly bothersome," Wainwright said. "I don't have that anymore, so I'm smiling."
He explained that he felt the sensation on all of his pitches--except the change-up.
It was at the top of his curveball, out front with cutter and on the follow-through to his sinking fastball.
"Basically, everything I throw," he explained.
In his bullpen session, Wainwright said he went a little beyond his normal routine--joking that typically one can "catch it with a Kleenex." He said he went through his normal routine, making sure to test out all of his pitches.
He faced hitters working different counts and said he was pleased with how it went.
Manager Mike Matheny showed a more cautious optimism regarding Wainwright's session, but acknowledged he was excited about the news.
"That's the news we were kind of waiting on," Matheny said prior to Wednesday's game. "But we weren't pushing it. If it wasn't feeling right, then you take the time."
In the meantime, the plan is to send him back out, but keep a close eye on his elbow. He was quick to add that if Wainwright needs more time, he will get it.
"I don't think anybody around here has any doubts as to how important he is to us," Matheny said of the club's ace pitcher.
Wainwright will take the mound Saturday at Busch Stadium against the Philadelphia Phillies at 3:10 p.m.