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Wacha's spring debut a huge milestone

I'm glad to see St. Louis Cardinals starter Michael Wacha have a strong spring training debut for more reasons than one.

Obviously, it's great to see that, after he's finally had a chance to fully recover from the stress reaction in his pitching shoulder that derailed his 2014 season, Wacha has his velocity and the action on his pitches back.

But, it's also good to see him have a positive experience in the wake of an ill-conceived decision to put a rusty Wacha in during the deciding game of the National League Championship Series.

With far less than his best stuff because of a long layoff, Wacha gave up an embarrassing home run to send St. Louis to defeat. It's the sort of thing I hate to see placed upon the conscience of a very young player over the course of a very long winter.

Regardless of how mentally tough Wacha seems to be, professional athletes have too much pride not to be affected by such a thing. Nobody wants to be the guy who lets down his teammates.

Finally back at 100 percent, Wacha did as well as could possibly be expected Monday in Grapefruit League play. He retired all six batters he faced, whiffing four of them. Opposing hitters seemed befuddled by his stuff.

It was odd the Cardinals pressed Wacha into service in a losing situation because they had been so careful with him after his injury up to that point. But it's good to see that the gamble didn't linger on mentally or physically and that the young star hurler seems to be ready to be the guy we all thought he was going to be after a spectacular 2013 debut.

Hopefully he's put the problems behind him and can stay healthy in 2015.