Cardinals Lose Adam Wainwright to a Groin Injury

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Cardinals Lose Adam Wainwright to a Groin Injury

Chicago Cubs

Every team, even one projected to win its division, has an area of the roster they undoubtedly wish was a little stronger. For the St. Louis Cardinals, I suspect that area is the starting pitching depth. They have some very good pitching prospects percolating, but I’m not sure any are quite ready to jump in if there were a wave of injuries that required more than just one guy to fill in.

That depth is going to be tested right from the jump:

Wainwright, 41, is in his farewell season, and put up a 3.71 ERA over 191.2 innings last season for the Cardinals. At that age, the wheels can come off at any time, but I don’t think any sane Cubs fan would bet on it this year. So, losing Wainwright for a chunk of time could sting the Cardinals, regardless of Wainwright’s age or projections.

Depending on the severity of the injury, though, I’m not so sure this is a huge blow to the Cardinals. I don’t mean in terms of Adam Wainwright’s projected performance, because we keep waiting for that shoe to drop and it never does. Instead, I mean in terms of his ramp-up to the season. Wainwright was dealing with massive velocity issues throughout Spring Training and in the WBC, so it’s possible having some time to step back, recover from the groin injury, and then ramp back up will actually help him get to where he needs to be, even if it takes a couple weeks into the season.

Again, the extent of the injury has not been publicized yet that I’ve seen, so it could be relatively minor or fairly serious. Apparently it happened during work in the weight room before the WBC Final.

For now, Jake Woodford figures to slot into the rotation behind Miles Mikolas, Jordan Montgomery, Jack Flaherty, and Steven Matz. Woodford, 26, is about as extreme as you can get as a contact manager, posting super small barrel rates, and pairing them with low-teens strikeout rates. Think of him like an Adrian Sampson, but one who was otherwise going to be important in the Cardinals bullpen.

(The other referenced injury in Goold’s tweet is reliever Wilking Rodriguez, with some shoulder soreness. But he’s a Rule 5 pick who can start the season on the IL and go through a “rehab” process that means the Cardinals don’t have to offer him back to the Yankees yet, since he was not a lock to make the bullpen.)

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.