JUPITER, Fla. -- Tuesday is the anniversary of the day Adam Wainwright's 2011 season ended with an elbow injury.
"I'll celebrate it," Wainwright said Sunday. "Maybe strike out a few guys."
If the rest of Wainwright's 2012 spring is as smooth and happy as the start of it was, the Cardinals will celebrate, because the guy who finished second in the 2010 National League Cy Young voting (after finishing third in 2009) now says that Tommy John surgery was only "a speed bump in my career."
Wainwright has been throwing every third day for more than a month now, so his bullpen session on the first official day of spring training wasn't exactly a revelation. It was, however, a reminder of how far he has come, and how quickly it has all happened.
He was hurt on Feb. 21. He had surgery a week later.
Now, when you ask how good he feels, he says, "I'm reluctant to talk about it, because it feels so good."
Now, he says, "I go home at night not thinking about icing. I'm thinking about what time American Idol's coming on."
The Cardinals have suggested that they may need to limit Wainwright's innings this year. He said Sunday that he doesn't believe in that.
"I refuse to put a limit on innings," he said. "What if I have 185-190 innings going into September? I can't pitch the rest of the season?"
The first step, though, is to get past Feb. 21.