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Cardinals starter Michael Wacha walked off the mound with trainer Adam Olsen last June 20 — and did not appear in another 2018 game for the club. Wacha suffered an oblique strain during an at-bat in the game at Philadelphia. (AP Photo)

JUPITER, Fla. • Six of 10 potential starting pitchers threw bullpen sessions at the Cardinals’ spring training camp on Friday, including righthander Alex Reyes, who has thrown seven or eight times off the mound since being here and Michael Wacha, who has had fewer outings.

Reyes, who has missed virtually two seasons with elbow and lat injuries, threw his full complement of pitches in some 40 offerings.

Wacha, who hasn’t pitched in the majors since June 20 when he suffered a left oblique injury swinging a bat, threw all fastballs but said he hadn’t had any recent recurrence of the injury which shelved his season, except for a couple of brief attempts on a minor league rehabilitation option.

Wacha was on his way to one of his best years in 2018 with an 8-2 record and 3.20 earned run average. “It was a fun season,” he said. “I was feeling really good. Unfortunately, a swing of the bat can do that and get you feeling weird." 

At the time, no one really thought Wacha was out for the balance of the season. 

“I’d never had that injury so there were a lot of questions and wondering," he said. "A lot of it is feel because you really can’t see too much in the imaging." 

A similar season, but a complete one, could lead to a big payday at the end of 2019 because the 27-year-old Wacha can be a free agent at season’s end.

But he said, “I honestly don’t think about that. My main concern is just getting healthy and getting back on the mound and helping this team." 

The Cardinals, he said, have broached nothing yet on a long-term basis.

Wacha said, “I love St. Louis. But I’m not getting prepared for any (long-term) talks.”

Often dogged by injuries, Wacha’s high-water mark for innings pitched is 181 1/3 in 2015, when he was 17-7. That 180-inning plateau, he said, “is the starter's benchmark. Whatever it is, I want to make every start I can.

“It took a while to get that confidence where I could let loose,” Wacha said. “But ever since I’ve been on the mound, I’ve been able to get after it. No problems at all. Every time out there builds confidence for me.”

Other starters who threw Friday were Jack Flaherty, Carlos Martinez, John Gant and Austin Gomber.

The first official workout for pitchers and catchers will be next Wednesday,  but many players already are here, including starting positional players Yadier Molina, Paul Goldschmidt, Kolten Wong, Matt Carpenter, Marcell Ozuna and Paul DeJong.


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