ST. LOUIS -- Although Michael Wacha isn’t on the roster for the National League Championship Series presented by GEICO, he’s being prepared in case anything were to happen and the Cardinals needed another pitcher.
Wacha, who is recovering from a right shoulder strain suffered Sept. 25 against the D-backs, threw a live batting practice session to Yairo Muñoz, Tyler O'Neill and Rangel Ravelo on Saturday at Busch Stadium before Game 2 against the Nationals. Right-hander John Gant followed with a live batting practice, too.
Gant was kept off the roster in favor of an additional left-handed arm in the bullpen. Wacha was kept off for health reasons. He has been increasing the intensity of his bullpen sessions for about a week to stay sharp and ready in case the Cardinals need him.
Wacha thought he would be ready to be on the roster for the NLCS, but Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said that they didn’t want to compromise Wacha’s health or the bullpen.
“I feel good, and the ball feels great coming out,” Wacha said. “Progressing every day, getting better every day. Facing hitters that want to take you deep was the next step.”
Martínez posts message to Sánchez
After the game, Martínez said he was going to send Sánchez a congratulatory message. The two know each other from facing each other over the years, as well as both being from Venezuela. Martínez said on Friday night that he avoided any in-game gesture toward Sánchez out of respect for the pitcher.
On Saturday morning, Martínez delivered the message in Spanish via Instagram:
“Hello, my name is José Martínez. I’m Venezuelan, and this message is for a person whom I admire and respect a lot in baseball, whose name is Aníbal Sánchez. Yesterday was an incredible day for you, at least as I, as a true fan, have admired your work since I was little. I’ve admired your work since you got to the big leagues and represented in the highest way our tricolored flag. I truly say that I’m proud of you. There’s no more deserving person of that moment than you. I can only wish that baseball would give you that and much more, now and in the future. As a fan, I can tell you that I’m proud of you for being Venezuelan and always flying our flag high. In the good times and bad, wherever, whenever, it’s not based on one moment, one hour, one feat. I’m always, always, always thankful for what you’ve given for Venezuela. I love you, I admire you, and may your career continue for many more years. Keep it up.”