(BaseballStL) — As the dust caused by the initial panic over Adam Wainwright’s elbow MRI settles, a much less frightening picture emerges. While there is soreness in the elbow, the Cardinal Ace has nothing structurally wrong with the joint and could possibly make his next start.
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“I know that in this business when the the word elbow gets thrown around people think the worst. In actuality and in all honest-to-goodness truth, the only reason we did an MRI was to treat it better,” Wainwright said Friday. “You could see my ligament on the tape and even though it (the ligament) was never even mentioned as to why we were doing this, it’s as thick as an oak tree. Strong as can be.”
After receiving an anti-inflammatory injection two days ago, the big righty is scheduled to play catch Saturday. Further evaluation will follow after that session.
“It’s really about is he going to be comfortable, will he still have that discomfort?” said GM John Mozeliak. “If he does, then obviously I think we have to what’s best to do for him. The best way to think about this right now is that it’s a long season and we certainly don’t want to put the season in jeopardy for one start.”
Wainwright has been somewhat of a workhorse for the Cardinals since returning from surgery in 2011. He threw a league leading 241.2 innings in 2013 and was the first pitcher to hit 100 innings this season.
While he has been near the top of baseball in innings and pitches since 2012, the 32-year-old has doesn’t necessarily believe the injury is a mileage issue.
“There’s no way to know that for sure. What I do know is the St. Louis Cardinals are paying me quite a bit of money to go deep into games and pitch a lot of innings,” he said. “That’s what I get paid to do, right? That’s why I work my tail off in the offseason and throughout the season to be able to go out there and be a horse for this team.”
Neither Mike Matheny nor Mozeliak believe the issue will be an ongoing one, and say the decision on whether Wainwright goes Monday will be more forward-looking than anything.
“I don’t think this is going to be a prolonged issue, it’s just something that we have to be smart about,” the GM said. “Waino’s smart. He knows his body better than anybody.”
The Georgia native said he could pitch through the issue without dealing with doctors, but it didn’t seem like a smart idea. Instead, he’d rather give himself a chance to go the rest of the year at 100 percent. Still, with catch slated for Saturday, he isn’t ruling out taking the hill as scheduled.
“Could I make the start? Absolutely. Do I need to make the start in early to mid-June if I’ve still got a little something barking- if, in fact, I waited a couple days it would go away? Then I’ll wait,” he said.
Even with the soreness in the pitching elbow, Wainwright was clear to remind everyone it could be a lot worse.
“I’ve been lucky enough in my career that i’ve never had a sore shoulder one time,” he said. “If you’re talking about elbows and shoulders, you’d much rather have an elbow because shoulder's are what ruin careers."