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VEB Podcast: Katie Woo from The Athletic

Katie Woo from The Athletic joins the VEB writing team to talk about Wainwright’s continued struggles with velocity. Plus spring surprises, Jordan Walker, and stories from the Cardinals beat.

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Happy Saturday, Cardinals fans!

The writing team is back today with another episode of the VEB Podcast. This time we were joined by Katie Woo, who does a brilliant job covering the Cardinals’ beat for The Athletic.

We recorded the podcast Thursday afternoon, so much of the conversation focused on Adam Wainwright and his continued issues with velocity. During his three-inning start on Thursday, Waino averaged just under 85 mph on his fastball velocity. That was essentially the same as his previous start this spring.

This is particularly concerning because Wainwright was supposed to be ramping up his throwing program early before he heads out for the World Baseball Classic.

And he ended last season with a similar velocity issue. After he was struck by a comebacker on Aug. 28, 2022, Wainwright’s velocity dropped 1 mph on average over his final few starts. This spring he is down almost 4 mph compared to his average fastball velocity in 2022 pre-August.

Needless to say, that kind of velocity change is concerning and can be indicative of injury. Katie Woo confirms that Wainwright has been struggling with back spasms that have caused issues with his delivery. He is working on getting himself back into his full range of motion, but the club is confident he will be able to do so. Woo also reported that Wainwright will be heading to the World Baseball Classic with no limitations on his pitch count or availability beyond the normal rules of usage for the tournament.

This probably bears watching. But if it was really something to be concerned about, the club would probably be acting differently.

You can read more about Wainwright’s situation from Katie over at The Athletic:

Why Adam Wainwright, Cardinals aren’t worried about low velocity readings

For the rest of the podcast, we discuss Katie’s impressions from camp. She singled out Nolan Gorman — his revamped swing and his improved defense. Jordan Walker, who continues to drive the ball with impressive exit velocities, was obviously a topic of conversation. We also hit on Paul DeJong and his role, Alec Burleson, the pitching depth, and a host of other questions facing the Cardinals this spring!

You’ll want to stick around to the end of the podcast when Katie shared quite a bit about her experience covering the Cardinals and the challenges and opportunities that affords. Plus a really funny story about a lizard in the clubhouse. If anyone has any guesses on who the “unnamed player” is, let us know in the comments.

As always, you can listen to the podcast right here on Viva El Birdos, or on your favorite podcast service. Here’s the embedded player:

Or you can watch this episode and all our previous podcast episodes through YouTube.

Thanks to Katie Woo for joining us and for providing us with great content all year with her excellent reporting! We hope to have her back on during the season.

You can find her work over at The Athletic, easily accessible from the Cardinals’ page or her author page.

Up next on the VEB Podcast will be a National League Preview. We are working to find a national reporter to join us to talk about the rest of the NL Central and the other contenders in the NL. Watch for that in 2 weeks!