Cards' Wainwright says he's ready for heavy duty

JUPTER, Fla. (AP) - Adam Wainwright's season-ending elbow injury last February was supposed to ruin the St. Louis Cardinals' season.

Now, the former 20-game winner is healthy again, ready to rejoin a rotation that was strong enough to win it all without him.

That's a major reason why the Cardinals are optimistic at the opening of their first spring training without Albert Pujols, Tony La Russa and Dave Duncan in a very long time.

Even if the 6-foot-7, 230-pound Wainwright throws fewer than 200 innings, the estimate the Cardinals have used in their desire to play it safe with a right-hander not yet a year removed from elbow reconstruction, they view it as a major plus.

The 30-year-old Wainwright was a workhorse before getting hurt last spring, totaling 266 1-3 innings in 2009-10.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)