In a way, from something good comes something bad.
The St. Louis Cardinals get one star pitcher back while confirming another is done for the year.
The Cardinals affirmed prior to their Wednesday double-header at the Pittsburgh Pirates the activation of right-handed pitcher Adam Wainwright off the 60-day disabled list. The corresponding transaction to make room for Wainwright on the club’s 40-man roster was to place pitcher Carlos Martinez on the 60-day disabled list. The right-hander is out for the remainder of the season with a right shoulder strain suffered last week.
Wainwright, 34, who came back from what was thought to be a season-ending left Achilles injury against the odds, missed 141 games since being hurt while batting on April 25. At the time, the team’s ace was 2-1 with a 1.44 ERA (25.0 innings) in four starts.
Given his time out and relatively rapid rehab that included three simulated games but no minor league action remaining in which to tune up, the team plans to use Wainwright out of the bullpen this fall. He last pitched in relief in 2006, when he closed out both the National League Championship Series and World Series. Since then, Wainwright has made 221 consecutive appearances as a starter.
The two-time 20-game winner and three-time All-Star owns a career mark of 121-67 with a 2.90 ERA.
Brian Walton’s take
It will be interesting to see how and when Wainwright is used and whether he has knocked off the rust quickly. There seems no doubt a fresh, rested and effective Wainwright could provide a significant boost to a Cardinals pitching staff that is starting to slide a bit after a tremendous season without him.
The good news is that the injury was not to Wainwright’s arm, with much of getting ready being to ensure he can field his position. As a reliever, he will likely not be called upon to hit or run the bases.
Wainwright has five games, of which he cannot pitch in all, to show he belongs on the Cardinals’ post-season roster ahead of another. Given his pedigree, he certainly cannot be counted out.
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