Although the news on his abdominal injury was as good as the Cardinals were hoping, ace Adam Wainwright still not might be ready in time for Opening Day.
Wainwright, 33, briefly left Spring camp for St. Louis due to discomfort in his abdomen, which was later diagnosed as an abdominal strain. He has returned to camp today, and, according to his manager, it’s possible the start of Wainwright’s season could be pushed back a couple days or more (ESPN Chicago).
The news is notable not only because the Chicago Cubs hope to take down the Cardinals in the NL Central this year, and any time Wainwright misses could hurt the Cardinals’ performance, but also because Wainwright is supposed to be the guy facing the Cubs on Opening Night, April 5 at Wrigley Field. If his debut is pushed back by even three games, the Cubs will miss him that first week.
We’ll see how this plays out. The plan is to have Wainwright back to normal activity in four to five days, with a debut in Spring Training games in mid-March (Cardinals.com). Pitchers tend to need three or four Spring starts, at least, to get stretched out for the season, so mid-March is about the latest Wainwright could realistically make his Spring debut and still be ready in time for the season.