JUPITER, Florida — Adam Wainwright bumped fists and smiled following a short bullpen session on Monday, the first since straining his abdominal muscle a week ago.
Wainwright didn't use maximum effort for most of the 30-plus pitch session, but did turn it up for the final five pitches — one of which had bullpen catcher Jamie Pogue hooting and hollering behind the plate.
"That was perfect," Wainwright said. "That's what I wanted."
The Cardinals ace had thrown off flat ground, but Monday was the first time he threw off the mound since injuring himself while placing a 45-pound weight back on the weight rack.
Wainwright met with trainers on Monday, who asked him to try a lunge - one of the activities that aggravated the injury - but other than that and pitching the trainers want Wainwright taking it easy.
"They don't want me to do anything to test it," Wainwright said. "We're trying to stay away from anything that might aggravate it."
Taking it easy meant skipping Monday's pitchers fielding practice.
"I kind of like doing PFP," Wainwright said. "It's funny what you miss when you don't do it. Just running around and being with the guys out there running out from station to station, I miss that part of it."
Wainwright is scheduled to throw again on Thursday but he's unsure whether that will be from the bullpen mound or against live hitters on one of the practice fields.
His ability to field his position, or get out of the way of line drives, will be the likely determinant as to whether he faces hitters.
"We're going to make sure that I can do some of that before I face hitters just in case I react a certain way," Wainwright said.
Wainwright went 20-9 with a 2.38 ERA last year, then underwent offseason elbow surgery to remove cartilage from his throwing elbow. He began 12-4 with a 1.83 ERA and started the All-Star Game for the NL, then went 8-5 with a 3.24 ERA.
On Friday manager Mike Matheny said it was possible Wainwright wouldn't be ready for Opening Day. Matheny did name Carlos Martinez the starter for the Cardinals' Grapefruit League opener on Thursday against the Miami Marlins.
Martinez is one of three pitchers battling for the fifth spot in the Cardinals rota+-tion.
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