St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright will have Tommy John surgery on his right elbow and miss the entire season.
Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak confirmed the news Thursday from spring training camp 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. A surgery date is not set.
“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 won 20 games last year and was runner-up for the National League Cy Young Award, felt arm stiffness after Monday’s throwing session. He had experienced soreness toward the end of last season and didn’t pitch in September. He had minor arm issues in 1998 and 2004.
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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.”
Manager Tony La Russa said Wednesday, before learning the extent of the injury, that he didn’t expect the Cardinals to try to replace Wainwright through a trade or free agent signing of someone like Kevin Millwood or possibly Pedro Martinez.
But that could change.
“You follow camps and see if something develops where it’s a good fit,” La Russa said. “But right now it’s not a good fit because were going to cover it from within. We’ll pay attention though, that’s part of what you do in spring training. We have scouts all over and we’ll watch box scores.”
CONTRITE CABRERA ARRIVES IN CAMP
Miguel Cabrera arrived at the Detroit Tigers’ spring training facility in Lakeland, Fla., for the first time since he was arrested last week on suspicion of drunken driving and promptly apologized as Major League Baseball said he will undergo treatment set up by doctors and administered by management and its players’ union.
The 27-year-old was arrested Feb. 16 on suspicion of driving under the influence and resisting an officer without violence, both misdemeanors. He is set to be arraigned on March 16.
“I am very sorry for what I have done,” Cabrera said through a translator. “I have worked hard for a period of time and I hope everyone forgives me. All I ask for is forgiveness.”
Texas Rangers pitcher Omar Beltre, 29, had surgery in Texas after being diagnosed with a genetic narrowing of the spine. Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine said the surgery “went as well as could be expected,” and that the right-hander is at least six weeks away from any baseball activities. Pitcher Vicente Padilla is expected to return to the Dodgers’ spring training facility in Glendale, Ariz., today after having surgery in Los Angeles to free up a nerve trapped by a muscle in his right arm. The club said Padilla faces about three to four weeks of rehabilitation. Even without the help of the awesome foursome of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt, the Philadelphia Phillies were dominant on the mound in an 8-0 victory over Florida State University in Clearwater, Fla. Seven pitchers combined on a four-hitter, and Ryan Howard had a two-run double to spark the offense.