Projections are cheap this time of year, especially for a pitcher less than a year removed from surgery. Approaching the anniversary of his elbow ligament transplant, Adam Wainwright has his own ideas about determining how much he can give the Cardinals this spring and this season.

"I plan on letting my arm do my lobbying," Wainwright said Wednesday morning within an otherwise empty clubhouse at Roger Dean Stadium.

Sixteen months after finishing as runner-up to National League Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay and three years after finishing third in controversial balloting to Tim Lincecum and teammate Chris Carpenter, Wainwright arguably represents the most significant addition within the NL Central.

The Cardinals won 90 games and a World Series title without their former 20-game winner. As part of a healthy rotation, Wainwright strongly believes last season could serve as a warm-up act even given the absence of three-time NL Most Valuable Player Albert Pujols.