- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 29, 2016

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) - Rain cut short Adam Wainwright’s and Stephen Strasburg’s final spring starts, canceling the game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Washington Nationals in the top of the fourth inning Tuesday.

Wainwright allowed the lone run moments before lightning halted play. The Cardinals‘ opening day starter wasn’t as crisp as he would have liked to be in his final spring start.

“I could have pitched seven or eight innings today and I would have thrown 115 pitches - it would have been kind of sloppy,” Wainwright said. “I want to tighten that up. I’m not worried about anything that’s going on, but I’m not overly excited about my start today. It could have been a lot better.”

Nationals manager Dusty Baker liked what he saw from Strasburg, who struck out five in three innings, including the side in the third.

Tuesday marked the second straight rainout for the Nationals, and the forecast for Wednesday’s Grapefruit League finale against the New York Mets in Port St. Lucie isn’t promising. Nor is the extended forecast for Friday’s and Saturday’s exhibition games against Minnesota in Washington.

Baker pushed Monday’s scheduled pitchers to Tuesday following that rainout. While Strasburg threw enough on Tuesday, there is now a backlog of relievers who need work in the coming days before the regular season begins.

“We’ll get our work done inside I guess,” Baker said. “We’ll adjust.”

EXTRA HELP

The Cardinals plan to break camp on Wednesday more than the 25-player maximum roster permitted for opening day. St. Louis plays the New York Yankees in Tampa on Thursday. Afterward, the major league-bound players will head to Pittsburgh, where the Cardinals open the season. The handful of players destined for the minor leagues will bus back from Tampa to the Cardinals‘ spring training complex in Jupiter to join their new teams.

NOT TURNER’S TIME

Washington wants to see top prospect Trea Turner work on his footwork, arm strength and leadership skills while in the minors this season. “A shortstop’s got to have energy,” Baker said. “It gives everybody else energy.” The Nationals optioned Turner to Triple-A on Monday but had the Palm Beach County native hit lead-off as a minor league call-up on Tuesday. Turner entered Tuesday’s game hitting .250 with a home run and four RBI this spring.

STARTING TIME

Nationals: Strasburg helped himself with the bat on Tuesday, singling in the third inning off Wainwright.

Cardinals: St. Louis manager Mike Matheny announced that Michael Wacha will start the second game of the season and Mike Leake the third in Pittsburgh. The number of off days built into the Cardinals‘ end of spring and early season schedule will lead St. Louis to leave a couple pitchers from the starting rotation behind when it breaks camp. Jaime Garcia will throw in a minor league spring training game on Friday and Carlos Martinez will do the same on Saturday before joining the club in Pittsburgh.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: C Yadier Molina was a late addition to the lineup on Tuesday. St. Louis scratched Molina from Monday’s game because of a bruised toe incurred in the weight room. … RHP Jordan Walden (sore shoulder) didn’t experience any ill effects following Monday’s scoreless inning. Walden hadn’t pitched since March 21. He is expected to pitch again on Wednesday.

UP NEXT

Nationals: Max Scherzer will start against Noah Syndergaard and the New York Mets at Port St. Lucie on Wednesday in Washington’s final Grapefruit League game.

Cardinals: St. Louis plays its final Grapefruit League game in Roger Dean Stadium on Wednesday. The Cardinals will be the visiting team when Wacha takes the mound against Miami’s David Phelps.

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