The St. Louis Cardinals already may have suffered a very significant injury that could torpedo their NL Central hopes in what already could be the Cards’ final season with future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols in the lineup.
Ace pitcher Adam Wainwright reportedly has a “significant” arm injury and left the Cardinals’ spring training camp in Florida to return to St. Louis to have his right elbow examined. He could be looking at Tommy John surgery, which would rule him out at least for the 2011 season.
General manager John Mozeliak said he believes it is a “significant injury” and the early word is “not encouraging.”
“After his bullpen on Monday, he did feel something in his right elbow,” Mozeliak said. “I can say just based on the initial evaluation from our training staff, things do not look encouraging. But before we jump to any conclusions, we’ll just wait until the re-evaluation (on Wednesday).”
Wainwright, who has had some issues with the elbow previously, is a former closer who has become one of the top starters in baseball. He went 20-11 with a 2.42 ERA in 2010, finishing second in the Cy Young Award balloting to Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay. He and Halladay were the only pitchers in the National League to finish in the top 10 in the major pitching categories. In 2009, Wainwright led the NL in wins (19), innings (233) and starts (34), winning a Gold Glove while finishing third in the Cy Young Award voting.
If Wainwright is lost for the season, the Cardinals are probably toast. They certainly would be considered behind the Reds and Brewers in the division. It has been a long offseason already for St. Louis, which also has to deal with the potential free agency of Pujols lingering over the club all year.
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