Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tweeted this morning that Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright is heading back to St. Louis to have the ligament in his right elbow examined.  General manager John Mozeliak told Goold that he believes it to be a significant injury.  Earlier this week, St. Louis learned that they’d be without Nick Punto to start the season after the scrappy (white) middle infielder required hernia surgery.

Having the best pitcher in your rotation requiring Tommy John surgery wouldn’t be welcome news for any team, but it especially hurts the St. Louis Cardinals, who probably needed everything to go right to compete with the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central.  It’s also potentially terrible news for Wainwright, who has a $21 million, two year option at the end of this season that vested for him when placed second in last year’s Cy Young voting.  To claim that option though, he must not finish the season on the Disabled List.

Despite rumours that he had been pitching with a partially torn UCL for several years, Wainwright has thrown more than 460 innings over the last two seasons, the sixth most in all of baseball.  Only Ubaldo Jiminez of the Colorado Rockies has thrown more pitches in the National League over that time frame.

Update: Talk of Joe Blanton and Kevin Millwood becoming targets for the Cardinals has already begun.  An interesting possibility for the Cardinals includes them using the $21 million they save on Wainwright to contribute to the Keep Pujols In St. Louis fund.

Comments (9)

  1. Terrible news. I have no love lost for the Cards but this is a shame. Fun to watch such an effective pitcher with such a terrible fastball.

  2. Exact. Same. Boat. I really like Wainwright a lot, and that’s despite my hatred for the Cards.

    Thinking about it, is there another rivalry in which both sides are more hateable between the Cubs and Cards?

  3. Ummm Yankees and Red Sox?

  4. I tried to hate the Manny-era Red Sox but couldn’t do it. I know! Revoke my myopic Jays fandom membership card.

  5. Two thoughts:

    1) I really hope this re-starts Colby Rasmus trade rumours, perhaps to a team with some nice young pitching ready to step into a big-league rotation…

    2) This seems like a really big blow for the Cardinals. They’re such a top-heavy team, with really four great players (Pujols, Holliday, Carpenter and Wainwright) with two other players that could be above average, but are still on the young side (Rasmus and Jaime Garcia). Considering that the Reds are strong and Brewers took a big step forward this off-season, does it make sense for the Cardinals to sort of punt the season? Carpenter’s a free agent next year (unless the Cards pickup his big option), so why not send him the Yankees, who would be willing to give up a bunch, get some good, young talent back, and then have a bunch of money saved to invest in their Pujols fund?

    • In almost any other division in baseball, I’d completely agree with you, but in the NL Central you can have a decent year with Lance Berkman in right field and Kevin Millwood in your rotation.

  6. Did Adam use the “Inverted W” style of delivery that was mentioned in one of your previous posts (or maybe DJF)? I want to know if there’s anything to it or is it junk?

    http://www.chrisoleary.com/projects/Baseball/Pitching/RethinkingPitching/Essays/DeathToTheInvertedW.html

    It looks like he does according to this blog. The blog also says that a healthy wainright contradicts the inverted W theory (oops):
    http://www.baseballdailydigest.com/2010/09/16/stras-wars-iv-the-dark-side/

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