Given all the pitchers who have fallen victim to elbow problems in this, the Year of the Tommy John Surgery, we collectively freak the fudge out when we hear of any pitcher having elbow issues.
That's why baseball clutched its pearls when new trickled out about St. Louis Cardinals bedrock Adam Wainwright leaving the team to travel back to St. Louis for an MRI on his sore elbow. And it's why we exhaled joyously when we learned Wainwright doesn't have any ligament damage, meaning he's not — repeat, not — headed for Tommy John surgery. That would have been no bueno for Mr. Waino.
The Cards handled this whole thing lickety-split, so we hardly had a chance to start imagining the team without their ace. Wainwright, by the way, pitched seven scoreless innings Tuesday as the Cards shut out the Tampa Bay Rays. He improved to 9-3 on the season with a 2.15 ERA.
Here's more on the elbow, via Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
General manager John Mozeliak said an MRI revealed that no damage had been done to the elbow ligament that was replaced when Wainwright underwent Tommy John surgery in 2011.
Mozeliak said that Wainwright's soreness was "similar to tennis elbow" and that the 32-year-old righthander received an anti-inflammatory injection today.
"We know the importance of him to our rotation and the importance of making sure he's in the rotation," Mozeliak said. "We want to be extra cognizant of what he needs to stay in the rotation and be healthy from here. We are going to be cautious with this."
After his outing Tuesday, Wainwright revealed that he's been dealing with tendonitis lately, as well as a sore back and allergies. You wouldn't know it by his performance. If you take out a May 30 game in which he was abused for seven runs by the San Francisco Giants, Wainwright has given up only two earned runs in his last five starts.
Wainwright is scheduled to pitch again Monday. The Cardinals aren't sure if he'll be ready to go, but they haven't ruled it out. There's no zero reason to take a risk with Wainwright in June, so don't blame the Cardinals if they play this conservatively.
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