ST. LOUIS – Adam Wainwright and Miles Mikolas will start the first two St. Louis Cardinals’ games of spring training this weekend.

For veterans Wainwright and Mikolas, the arrangement represents a tune up of sorts before both join the Team USA pitching staff for the World Baseball Classic. After Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw dropped out of the tournament, both have a strong chance of pitching in Team USA’s starting rotation.

Wainwright and Mikolas are both expected to complete around two innings or throw around 35 pitches in their starts. Both could possibly make one more Cardinals spring start in early-March before the World Baseball Classic on normal rest.

Preparing for his retirement season, Wainwright says getting in some early spring outings should help him with preparations for the WBC. Mikolas has used some recent bullpen sessions to prepare for the 2023 season and faced fellow Cardinals teammates in scrimmage settings. Both have also been building rapport with new catcher Willson Contreras in recent days.

Starting pitching assignments beyond the first two games have not yet been announced, but it’s expected that Jack Flaherty, Jordan Montgomery and Steven Matz will all have starting opportunities in the upcoming weeks.

The Cardinals could also give Dakota Hudson, Tink Hence, Gordon Graceffo and Michael McGreevy some starting opportunities later this spring as Wainwright and Mikolas compete in the WBC.