photo: Michael Wacha (Springfield Cardinals)
St. Louis Cardinals right-handed pitcher Michael Wacha was in Springfield on Tuesday in his continuing rehab from an oblique injury.
Wacha made his third rehab start, but first with Springfield. The former NLCS MVP allowed three runs (five earned) over 2 ⅓ innings of work after leaving early with a trainer due to feeling some muscle tightness. He tossed the highest number of pitches (52) since his rehab assignment began in High-A Palm Beach.
On a positive note, Wacha was able to touch 95 mph on the gun and struck out three batters on the night.
Following his outing, Wacha spoke to the local media in Springfield, discussing how he felt and much more.
Media Member: Probably not exactly what you were hoping to get out of today, but what were you able to take away from this appearance?
Michael Wacha: “I definitely wouldn’t say I got everything I wanted to accomplish. It was fun getting out there in front of that crowd and in front of these guys in Springfield. Getting out there and competing. Getting out there on the mound and facing some hitters. I know it didn’t go exactly how I wanted it to, but it is all a part of the process.”
MM: How come you left the game in the third? Anything in particular?
MW: “It was just a little tightness starting to creep up a little bit. I didn’t think it was the time or place to push through it. It was a quick hook and I was out. I’m heading back to St. Louis tomorrow. Gonna check with the doctors and check everything out. Hopefully, everything is in a positive way.”
MM: You still had some swinging strikes there and had a couple of strikeouts, so there was some things working for you. What was going well?
MW: “I think the changeup had some pretty good depth on it. Early on in the game, I was throwing strikes and I was filling it up. Towards the end, I was getting behind guys and that was when I was getting in trouble. Those 1-0 and 2-0 counts and they were sitting dead-red and on time.
“It’s tough to pitch that way. It’s all about getting ahead of guys and attacking them.”
MM: Do you know what the next step looks like moving forward from here?
MW: “No, I don’t. That is a conversation that I got to have with those guys tomorrow or sometime this week.”
MM: I know you didn’t get much time to look at them, but what is the thought looking at the Springfield team down here? What have you noticed?
MW: “This is my first time down here this year. It is a good group of guys. I recognize a lot of the faces from big-league camp. They have got a good team here. They always have a good team here. These guys in Springfield – these fans they are lucky to have a good product here and they get to come out and watch every night. It’s fun.”
MM: You played for Mike Shildt here back in 2012. What was it like for you to hear that Shildty had the interim tag removed today?
MW: “It’s very much well-deserved. That guy is a winner. He has proved it all the way up through the ranks. I couldn’t be more happy for that guy. I just look forward to getting back out there and playing for him.”
MM: How excited are you to get back with the team? Obviously, the big-league club has been really hot now for a while.
MW: “It’s something I have been looking forward to since I have been on the DL. I’m not sure when that will be. It is definitely fun watching them on TV or in St. Louis whenever I’m there. It is just guys playing free and having fun and going out there and winning a lot of ball games. It has been a lot of fun and have one more month left to go where we make a little push here to the postseason.
“It should be a good little run here.”
MM: Has it been kind of frustrating to see how well they are playing and you not being out there with them?
MW: “I wouldn’t say frustrated. The competitiveness in me – probably. I definitely want to be out there helping these guys along the way. I couldn’t be more proud and happy of these guys coming up and stepping up, filling in for these guys. We have had injuries throughout the whole year. Guys getting called up and not blinking an eye, going out there and getting the job done.”
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