It took some imagination on his part and there will be no lasting record of his outing, but Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright completed his first healthy spring training in two years with a 75-pitch simulated game Monday.

There were no fielders behind him. The hitters were a group from the Cards' lowest minor-league affiliates. And the only baserunners were conjured by Wainwright to invent situations.

"Ghost runner was on second," he explained.

What wasn't imaginary was the success Wainwright had establishing command of the lower strike zone. In his final true start of spring training, Wainwright was frustrated by a lack of command, a drift in velocity, and the fly balls that both created. He pitched 4 2/3 innings and allowed three runs on six hits and a walk. It was his only start of the spring without a strikeout.

"Last time there were way too many balls in the air," he said. "For the most part with flyball outs come flyball hits and doubles and extra-base hits. ... You see ground balls that are choppers, that means I'm working real late down in the zone. I was sinking and cutting it. Everything was knees or below. That's where I make my money down there for sure. That's where innings pile up."