Returning reliever John Brebbia greeted those walking into the St. Louis Cardinals clubhouse this morning, raising the question as to who’s roster spot he would be filling. The answer soon came as the team announced Adam Wainwright has been placed on the 10-day disabled list due to right elbow inflammation.
“Obviously concerned, having feeling in his arm and just trying to get him to the point where he’s going to have his best shot,” said Mike Matheny. “I think it’s smart, taking advantage of the 10-day DL. Give him a chance to get ahead of this so it’s not something that sticks around the rest of the season.”
So what kind of concern should Cardinals fans have regarding the veteran starter?
“If you’re concerned whether I make 30 or 31 starts be very concerned, if you’re concerned if I make 30 or 10 then not,” answered Wainwright. “I took the route of cutting this off before it got like it did last year. Long story short, there’s a spot where I throw from that’s my traditional arm slot that if I throw from there, it’s going to make the same stuff happen. If I drop two inches, like I pitched the last two games, then no problems at all.
Pitching last Tuesday, Wainwright threw 5.0 innings and struck out five hitters en route to picking up his first win of the season.
“He said he felt it when he got to the wrong slot, felt it a couple of times,” explained Matheny. “It was a good start. But in his bullpen, it wasn’t right.”
“The problem was the first game I came out and I started trying to heave the ball from that top slot and I’m sort of wearing the effects of that,” continued Wainwright. “I could’ve pitched the next three games, similar to the last game I pitched, but then I think it would’ve started going downhill. So, I threw my bullpen session, it was fine but it wasn’t where we wanted to be going. It wasn’t trending in the right direction, so we’re just cooling the jets, calming it down and then back to work.”
These symptoms are similar to what Wainwright experienced last season–which led to an early end to his season and scope to smooth a cartilage flap in his elbow.
“I think that’s why the different timing, the more aggressive, let’s really stop right here and not let it get to where it was before,” said Matheny.
“Last year what I had real bad was a bone bruise, two bad bone bruises, and some cartilage damage,” said Wainwright. “I don’t have any cartilage damage right now. I have what could be a bone bruise if I let it continue. I know the feeling. So I’m not going to let it continue.”
How the Cardinals will handle Wainwright’s spot in the rotation, which comes up again Tuesday, has yet to be decided.
“We’re still weighing those options,” said Matheny.
The move of Wainwright to the DL is retroactive to April 20th and with no game scheduled for tomorrow, the Cardinals have made the decision to move up the rotation with Luke Weaver taking the start on Tuesday. This will keep the rotation on normal rest and push back the decision of who makes the one start Wainwright will miss before being eligible to return from the DL.
All will be well in a few days.
— Adam Wainwright (@UncleCharlie50) April 22, 2018
photo credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports