ST. LOUIS — Even as the Cardinals had a valuable piece of their club return Friday, the team is still suffering from multiple bites from the injury bug.
It was confirmed before the series opener with Chicago that utility outfielder Shane Robinson was lost for the season following shoulder surgery.
The 29-year-old injured himself on a slide in Pittsburgh, suffering a sublexation of his shoulder that turned out to be much worse.
“He did fracture a bone in his shoulder,” GM John Mozeliak said. “It probably does date back to the previous injury he had back in 2010.”
Robinson suffered a shoulder dislocation four years ago that required surgery and then was sidelined in 2011 following a horrific collision in the outfield.
This time, Robinson reportedly damaged the ball in the shoulder joint and required arthroscopic surgery. The procedure was performed Thursday and will keep him out four weeks before any rehab can begin, effectively ending his season.
“Probably for him this is the best thing to do. He probably could have tried to rehab but it wouldn’t have made long term sense for his own career,” Mozeliak said. “Sort of given where he’s it, it’s the smartest decision to deal with this now and allow him to have a full offseason.”
Robinson should be back to full strength by 2015, but it’s another chance lost for the undersized outfielder. After a stellar NLCS in 2013 and defensive highlights in limited opportunities this year, Robinson seemed to be set to contribute the rest of the way in 2014.
“It’s been a tough season. A lot of times when we’ve been trying to figure something out around here or needed some help or needed an arm, needed to try to do something, Shane seemed to be on the short end of it most of the time,” Matheny said. “This happens when we tried to get him a couple opportunities and it’s just a bad turn for him.”
Randal Grichuk was called up in Pittsburgh to replace Robinson on the 25-man roster.
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Michael Wacha continues his slow march back to major league action with a start in Springfield Sunday. The plan is for him to throw between 30 and 40 pitches then be evaluated.
The next step is still uncertain and John Mozeliak was not revealing any plans for follow up rehab starts when he spoke Friday.
“Probably a bit premature to even answer that. I think we have to see how he throws on Sunday and then maybe determine the next step,” he said. “It also may be determined by do we have a team playing? That may play into it as well if we have a place for him to rehab or not.”
Springfield’s last game is on September 1, but Memphis is set to make it into the PCL post season. The Cardinals would be able to give Wacha starts for the AAA club if they preferred not to have him work out in St. Louis before returning.
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Mark Ellis and Jason Motte are improving, but neither has a set date of return. Motte threw off flat ground and felt good after a more intense bullpen, but is still working to return from his strained back.
Matheny said Ellis is getting closer, but has yet to swing a bat freely. The second baseman is being challenged by trainers in the weight room and doing light work off the tee, but doesn’t appear to be close to returning to action.