Early Departure for Wacha

(Busch Stadium) The afternoon began with a possibility that pitchers Michael Wacha and Adam Wainwright could both be back on the mound for the St. Louis Cardinals next week.

But at least half of the plan was likely derailed early into the night as Wacha left his rehab start with Springfield (AA) accompanied by a trainer in the 3rd inning. He had thrown 52 pitches and allowed five earned runs on six hits. Wacha was scheduled to throw around 65 pitches.

UDPATE: The Cardinals later announced that Wacha left the game with fatigue and will be re-evaluated tomorrow.

Last night, Wainwright threw 4.0 scoreless innings for Memphis while allowing three hits and striking out four. He has now thrown 12.0 scoreless innings in his five rehab starts.

“It’s a combination of performance, how he feels, how he bounces back, and how he looks,” said General Manager Michael Girsch. “He’ll continue to get stretched out a little bit more and we’ll see where he stands after that one.”

While both Wacha and Wainwright are being stretched out as starters, there remains a possibility they could also pitch out of the bullpen.

“We’ve got like nine starting pitchers in our rotation and bullpen, how that all plays out over the next five weeks will depend on who’s healthy, who’s pitching well, matchups, and all kind of stuff,” said Girsch.

Most of those nine arms are rookies or young pitchers, but other than normal wear at this point in the season, their workload is not a cause for concern.

“There’s no one who has a magic number that we’re worried about,” said Girsch. “We’re not in a position where we’d be pulling someone out of the rotation to save them innings, but getting a sixth guy in every now and then when we have a stretch without an off-day, we might do something like that. But there’s no one who’s got like a flashing red light that we’re petrified of what comes next.”

And there’s also no deadline to rush Wacha or Wainwright back before August 31st so that they can be available if the Cardinals make the post season.

“No playoff implications for them,” pointed out Girsch. “As long as your in our organization on August 31st, you’re eligible for the post season roster. There are some technicalities, but we have a few guys on the 60-day DL so we can take players who aren’t even on the 40-man and get them on…we have tons of flexibility. There’s no need to do anything by August 31st.


–Placed on the disabled list today with a left hamstring strain, Kolten Wong appears to have avoided serious injury.

“It’s a 10-day DL, but we’re already three days in to it,” pointed out Girsch. “It does not appear to be all that serious. We’re hopeful that when his 10 days are up, he’s ready to go.”

Infielder Patrick Wisdom was recalled from Memphis to fill the spot on the 25-man roster.

–Marcell Ozuna swung a bat in the cage today and “feels good” according to Girsch. He will start to throw in the next couple of days and if all goes well, is expected to be ready to return when his 10 days are up. Ozuna is not expected to on rehab assignment.

photo credit: Bill Streicher, Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

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