'Everybody relax and let me pitch' – Wainwright to return for 19th and final season with Cardinals

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Adam Wainwright is returning to the St Louis Cardinals for one last hurrah in 2023 but says he wants no fuss to surround his farewell season.

The 41-year-old pitcher, who made his debut for the team in 2005, will be entering a 19th season with the Cardinals and looking to make up for a disappointing end to the 2022 campaign.

He struggled in the team's closing regular season games and cited a "dead arm", saying he was feeling "no explosiveness" when pitching.

Wainwright wants to go out on a high, so he is playing on with that in mind, but wary of being caught up in hoopla.

"I have so many distractions as it is, and I don't need any more," said Wainwright. "If I tell you it's the last one, then I've got to go through a bunch of stuff.

"My main focus of playing next year is to go out and win and help this team win.

"Long story short: Yes, this will be the last one. Everybody relax and let me pitch. Let me go out and perform and not freak out about it every single day, and let's see what happens."

Wainwright has 195 career wins and 117 losses. An early target will be to pass 200 wins, and then Wainwright will be looking to go second on the team's all-time list among pitchers, with Jesse Haines currently occupying that position with 210 wins. Bob Gibson heads the list with 251 wins.

To go past Haines would require an upturn in Wainwright's former, after he endured an 11-12 win-loss record in 2022.

Cardinals president John Mozeliak was glad to agree a deal to keep Wainwright on for one more year.

Mozeliak, quoted on MLB.com, said: "We really do feel like there's something left in that tank.

"We all know how competitive [Wainwright] is, we know how special he is in that clubhouse and what he means to this organisation. So we're just glad we could get it done."