The writing was on the wall when the Cardinals were using words like “serious injury,” but today they announced Adam Wainwright will undergo Tommy John surgery, and miss the 2011 season.
Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak confirmed the news Thursday at the team’s spring training facility in Jupiter, Fla. He said he learned the severity of the injury Wednesday night after the 29-year-old pitcher sought a second opinion from Dr. Lewis Yocum in Los Angeles.
“It’s not a real surprise to us but certainly a disappointment,” Mozeliak said. “As we look to the future now we certainly believe we still have a strong starting rotation. Now we’re going to have to look to try to fill it in terms of a fifth spot.”
Wainwright, who felt stiffness in his arm after Monday’s throwing session, won 20 games last year and was runner-up for the NL Cy Young Award. His loss leaves the team with a big hole in a starting rotation that for now includes Chris Carpenter, Kyle Lohse, Jaime Garcia and Jake Westbrook.
“That’s a big guy to miss,” Lohse said. “We still got to go out there and play. Nobody is going to feel sorry for us. We still have to go out there and do our jobs.”
The Cardinals entered spring training with a rotation that Mozeliak said he would stack up against any in baseball.
“You’re losing an ace,” Mozeliak said. “It’s not something you can replace overnight. I would also say we have four quality pitchers. It’s not exactly like we have no bullets left.” ESPN Chicago.
The Cards have said they won’t go after another starter via trade or free agency, but as commenter Jonathan noted, if the Cards decide to pick up a Kevin Millwood, he better save some space on his mantle for a Cy Young award.
Obviously losing Wainwright hurts the Cards and helps the Cubs, but this isn’t a day to celebrate. Players get hurt all the time – and, yes, players on your own team get hurt and derail your season. It sucks. I hate the Cards, but I feel their pain.
Call it fan empathy if you like, but I just think it’s better not to poke the dragon of fate.