Wainwright set for Tommy John surgery
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Thursday, February 24, 2011
JUPITER, Fla. • St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright will require Tommy John surgery to repair his elbow and he will miss the entire 2011 season, the club confirmed this morning.
General manager John Mozeliak made the announcement at about 10 a.m. St. Louis time after a discussion with the pitcher and the team physician. All parties had been waiting on the results of a second opinion requested Wednesday evening from Dr. Lewis Yocum in the Los Angeles area.
"We have confirmed that Adam Wainwright will require Tommy John surgery. So obviously, he'll be out for the year," Mozeliak said. "Not a real surprise to us, but certainly a disappointment and a finality to this process. As we look to the future now we certainly believe that we have a strong starting rotation on this club. And now we're going to have to try and fill it in terms of a fifth spot."
The surgery date has not been set, but Wainwright will have the procedure done in St. Louis by Cardinals physician George Paletta.
Mozeliak said that the recovery is usually 12 to 15 months.
Mozeliak and manager Tony La Russa both repeated Wednesday's opinion that their first step will be to fill the spot from within. Kyle McClellan shifted into the starters' workout group on Wednesday, and other candidates have been identified, from Raul Valdes to Lance Lynn. La Russa said he has six or seven candidates in mind for the opening, and it's possible that a committee could form to fill that spot through the season until one seizes the job.
McClellan and Ian Snell are two of the pitchers with starting intent or starting experience who will throw to hitters today at camp.
While acknowledging the team will be open-minded about the options outside the organization, Mozeliak downplayed his interest in the free agent market at this point.
Wainwright has twice previously had difficulty with his right elbow. In 2004, he was diagnosed with a sprain in the ligament, and back in high school he also had a similar problem. The Cardinals had him skip his last start of 2010 because of irritation in his forearm -- a condition that he later acknowledged was related to a partially torn ligament in his elbow. A followup exam in November assured the righthander that the structure of his elbow was sound, and several weeks ago he insisted that he wasn't pitching with the fear the ligament was going to "pop" at any time.
Mozeliak said even in hindsight it's unlikely that the team would have handled Wainwright's prep or his physicals different.
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