The Cardinals control Adam Wainwright for the next two seasons at the comparatively modest price of $21 million.

His free agency is well off on the horizon: November 2013. Wainwright is locked in for the prime years of his pitching career.

But it is not too early for Cardinals management to begin formulating a contract extension for this cornerstone hurler. Once Wainwright demonstrates he is fully recovered from Tommy John Surgery, Cards general manager John Mozeliak should start crunching some numbers.

Friday was the first test of that, and he passed with ease by pitching two hitless innings against the Minnesota Twins, striking out Joe Mauer in the process. Wainwright might need more innings to regain his old command, but his rehab work to this point suggests he is poised for a big season.