Wacha started Tuesday's game for the Cardinals and threw 80 pitches over six innings of three-hit ball. That pitch count was right where the Cardinals wanted him in his first start since Aug. 10, so he was pulled after six innings despite showing no signs of slowing down.
"We had a plan for what we thought was going to be best for him and what was best for our club in the long haul," Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny was quoted as saying.
Wacha will be allowed some more room to work on Sunday, when he makes a crucial start against the division rival Pittsburgh Pirates. That will be the final game played between the two sides in the regular season. The Pirates currently are one game ahead of the Cardinals for the NL Central division lead.
Wacha has made five mostly good starts for the Cardinals in 2013. Over 11 appearances and 39 innings in the majors this year, he has a 3.20 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. Wacha was named Baseball America's No. 12 prospect in their midseason update, and has had two spectacular professional seasons thus far.