ST. LOUIS — St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright took the blame on Friday for the flap that ensued after he said he served up pitches to Derek Jeter during the All-Star game.
The 12-game winner spent part of the first day following the All-Star break explaining his comments after the retiring Yankees shortstop doubled off him in the first inning Tuesday.
Wainwright said he made a poor choice of words describing the at-bat against a player he called "the Michael Jordan of baseball" for the last 20 years.
He accepted responsibility for the resulting furor he says was fueled by the "Twitter-verse" that marred his experience.
"I’d be lying to say it didn’t," Wainwright said. "But you bring something upon yourself, what can you expect?"
Wainwright did a second round of interviews on Tuesday in an attempt at damage control and said Friday he had contacted Jeter through Yankees teammate Kelly Johnson.
"Derek is the last guy who needs an explanation from me on this," Wainwright said. "This is not something he needs."
He didn’t second-guess any of his pitches.
"Apparently, saying I piped one to him meant I intentionally threw one down the middle," Wainwright said. "It didn’t work out well. I had a very good time pitching, though, I really did."
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny thought Wainwright, always outgoing and a thoughtful interview subject, might be more guarded in the future. After watching video of the interview, he was critical of media that would "run off with that thing."
I messed up the way I described the inning. I don’t feel like I should have to back up my story any more than just telling you exactly what happened.
"It’s a tragedy, it’s terrible," Matheny said. "That guy should be ashamed, the guy that first started running with it."
The right-hander said he doesn’t plan on changing anything. He joked Friday that he listened to classical music on headphones before the game and added a snoring sound.
"Be more mindful of the words I use, maybe," Wainwright said. "But crying out loud, this is ridiculous. The people who completely lost respect for me and all this, just realize this: I messed up the way I described the inning. I don’t feel like I should have to back up my story any more than just telling you exactly what happened.
"Tell you the truth. I can live by that."
Wainwright is getting extra time off after the break, and is skipping the Dodgers’ series this weekend. He is likely to pitch Tuesday against Tampa Bay.
"We’re going to ride him hard the rest of the way," Matheny said. "The schedule works out good to get a little more time for him."
Wainwright entered Friday second in the National League with 138 innings, first with a 1.83 ERA, and tied for the lead in wins. He said he didn’t need a break but doesn’t seem to mind having one.
"This is going to be a pretty torrid race through the end of the season," Wainwright said. "They’re mindful of that."
The Cardinals are also putting Shelby Miller in the bullpen and going with a four-man rotation for the time being. They have three more days off the rest of the month, and Matheny said a break had been in the plans for Miller, 7-8 with a 4.29 ERA in 19 starts covering 109 innings.
"How long that lasts, I’m not going to say for the month," Matheny said. "We’ll see how guys look."