JUPITER, Fla. -- It was an innocuous session of live batting practice, one of eight that took place on the Cardinals' Spring Training practice fields on Friday. But symbolically, it was very much a milestone.
It had been 368 days since Adam Wainwright last threw a session of Spring Training batting practice, and that one ended in disaster. After feeling discomfort in his elbow that day, Wainwright walked off the mound knowing that his season was likely over. That fear was confirmed a few days later when it was announced that he would be undergoing Tommy John surgery.
As the schedule would have it, Wainwright was placed on Field 3, the same field on which everything went wrong a year ago. This time, though, the session ended with Wainwright smiling and shaking hands with manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Derek Lilliquist.
"This [gave] me a chance to conquer it," Wainwright said. "This [gave] me a chance to get over that."
Wainwright also confirmed that he has not been dealing with any next-day soreness or tightness. All this has Wainwright on track to pitch a full slate of Grapefruit League games next month.
"Each time I throw, I let my body do it naturally," Wainwright said. "I'm not trying to force anything. I'm out there just going through my delivery and my arm. Whatever comes out of it is what's going to come out of it. Today, I noticed there was a little more something there then there was before."
Cardinals confident in MLB testing policy
JUPITER, Fla. -- As Ryan Braun stood in front of a podium on Friday to speak out about winning an appeal to rescind a 50-game suspension, members of the Cardinals touched on the impact the decision will have both on Braun's image and the National League Central race.
"Clearly, that's good news for Milwaukee," first baseman Lance Berkman said. "He's a tremendous player. They were going to be a good team with him out of the lineup. But with him in the lineup, they're a very good team. Certainly, when you add a bat like that, I think it bolsters your chance of competing in the division."
Added manager Mike Matheny: "If I were in his shoes and I were innocent, I would sure want justice to prevail. I'm sure everybody went through the proper chains to make sure that justice was done and the right thing came about."
Had Braun's suspension been upheld, he would not have been in uniform for the first six of 15 games the Cardinals and Brewers will play this season. But in an unprecedented decision, an arbitration panel ruled in Braun's favor, 2-1, after the outfielder's representatives argued that the process of sending off a urine sample under Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program had been compromised.
That sample, which was collected in October, showed unusually high levels of synthetic testosterone.
"I spoke to him and congratulated him," said Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay, who was a teammate of Braun's at the University of Miami. "I know it's been a tough situation to deal with for him. This is his reputation, everything he worked his whole life for. To deal with this situation was extremely tough. But if there is anyone that can deal with it, it's him."
Jay said he had been in touch with Braun this winter, after word of the positive test leaked to the media in December.
Both Jay and Berkman were among those who said that, despite Thursday's arbitration announcement, they have not lost confidence in MLB's drug-testing program.
"My stance on the whole issue is that Major League Baseball needs to do everything it can to eliminate the performance-enhancing drug piece of the puzzle," Berkman said. "I think the testing that we have in place now is very stringent. I think it's a good system. Beyond that, I'm glad there's testing in place. I'm glad that if Ryan was indeed falsely accused that he's been exonerated."
Cardinals reliever J.C. Romero, who was suspended 50 games in 2008 for testing positive for androstenedione, declined to comment on Braun's situation on Friday. Romero was unsuccessful in his own appeal against MLB, though he did recently settle a lawsuit after an independent lab determined that the supplement Romero had ingested had been tainted.
Friday marked the Cardinals' first full-squad workout, and all invited players were in attendance. Just prior to workouts, manager Mike Matheny addressed the squad. He did not share specifics regarding his message afterward. Former Cardinals outfielder Colby Rasmus directed criticism at the organization while speaking from Blue Jays camp on Friday. Rasmus, who was traded to the Blue Jays last July, said he couldn't relax, was habitually stressed and lacked confidence during his time in St. Louis.
"I really never felt good in St. Louis," Rasmus said. "I always felt like I wasn't ... I don't know. I was always so much younger than everybody else, and I just felt like I was never really, I guess you could say, a part of the team, kind of. I never got comfortable, and [former manager] Tony [La Russa] wanted it that way. He always said he didn't want me to get comfortable, he wanted me to always stay working hard and doing this and doing that."
Rasmus was the Cardinals' first-round pick in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft.
Outfielder Allen Craig said he felt great after throwing from a distance of 60 feet on Thursday. Craig said he still has not resumed running, but that he expects to progress with the throwing program after feeling no discomfort. Craig is working his way back from offseason surgery on his right knee. Lance Berkman made an entertaining entrance into the clubhouse on Friday morning. The first baseman sported a short haircut, mustache, aviator sunglasses and all black clothing. Asked about the look, Berkman deadpanned: "We're here to defend a championship." Former Cardinals outfielder Willie McGee arrived in camp on Friday to serve as a guest instructor. McGee will, among other things, be working with players on baserunning.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.