CINCINNATI — Adam Wainwright said he’s ready to go Sunday after missing two weeks with mid-back tightness.
The St. Louis Cardinals’ right-hander is expected to be reinstated from the 10-day disabled list to start the finale of a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park.
“We were very clear that once he got through the DL and everything was ready, we’d plug him in,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “He passed all the tests.”
Wainwright (11-5, 4.79 ERA) was eligible to come off the DL on Thursday but the Cardinals felt there was no need to rush him back.
“It was nice to give him that extra time on the backside of that,” Matheny said.
The Reds (45-65) have had some success against Wainwright in his career, beating him 11 times in his 28 appearances (23 starts). Overall, Wainwright is 9-11 with a 5.01 ERA against Cincinnati with a 6-5 mark and 4.41 ERA at Great American Ball Park.
Prior to going on the DL, Wainwright won four straight decisions. It’s only the fourth time in Wainwright’s 12 seasons that he’s been on the DL.
Cincinnati welcomes back a key component of its own Sunday with the return of shortstop Zack Cozart, who has been on the disabled list since July 29 with right quad soreness.
“We kind of set our sights on Sunday being the day of activation,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “He’s gone through everything. He’s feeling good.”
Cozart is expected to return to the No. 2 spot in the batting order despite rookie Jesse Winker performing well in that spot. Cozart is batting .317 with 20 doubles, 12 homers and 39 RBIs in 76 games while playing his usual stellar defense.
Homer Bailey (3-5, 7.32 ERA) will face the Cardinals for the first time since April 18, 2015, when he takes the mound Sunday afternoon. Bailey came off the DL on June 24 this season after making only eight starts the past two years because of elbow and forearm surgeries. In 21 career starts against St Louis, Bailey is 6-11 with a 5.13 ERA.
The Cardinals (54-56) are 4-8 this season against the Reds, who swept a four-game series from St. Louis in convincing fashion in early June, outscoring them 28-9 at Great American Ball Park, including Scooter Gennett’s four-home run game.
Cincinnati has won 15 of the past 25 games versus the Cardinals, including 12 of 19 and six of the previous eight.
Prior to Saturday’s 4-1 victory over the Reds, it had been an especially tough stretch for St. Louis, which played five straight games decided by one run and lost three of them.