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Thu 26/02/2015 - 18:29 EST

Cardinals Get Great News On Ace Pitcher Adam Wainwright

The St. Louis Cardinals were definitely holding their breath when ace pitcher Adam Wainwright was sent back to St. Louis to get an abdominal muscle checked out, but the Cardinals can now breathe a sigh of relief as the former Cy Young winner should be OK for the start of the season.

Wainwright has been diagnosed with an abdominal strain and has been told to rest for a couple weeks, leaving him plenty of time to get ready for Opening Day. He can continue to do some throwing, but will be limited overall for a while. Wainwright strained the muscle Monday while putting a 45-pound weight back on a rack. General manager John Mozeliak said Thursday that the strain is about belt high.

"Based on all the different studies and what the doctor saw, he feels this was the best news we could have gotten," GM Mozeliak said.

Wainwright, the presumptive Opening Night starter on April 5 in Chicago against new Cubs ace Jon Lester, probably would need three spring starts, Mozeliak said, to be ready for the start of the season. "There's  more comfort in four or five," said Mozeliak.

Wainwright can resume throwing after he arrives back in camp on Friday although Mozeliak said, "We can take the foot off the gas a little on the bullpen session. But based on what I've been told, having him continue to throw is OK."

Wainwright, 33, posted a 2.38 ERA over 227 innings in 2014 before having surgery to trim cartilage in his throwing elbow in October. Wainwright stands to benefit from spring training this year because he's recovering from that arthroscopic elbow surgery. He’s been able to throw for the majority of the offseason.

If Wainwright’s injury had been serious enough to require surgery, it could have been a major issue. Tigers starter and former Cy Young winner Justin Verlander had abdominal surgery in January 2014, and though he didn’t miss regular season time, it may have been a factor in him having one of the worst seasons of his big-league career, and easily his worst since 2008. Verlander, who had been an All-Star for five straight years while winning both the AL Cy Young and MVP in 2011, finished 15-12 with a 4.54 ERA and a total of 159 strikeouts, his lowest Ks total since 2006.

Assuming Wainwright is good to go on Opening Night, an ESPN Sunday night game, it will be quite a show as the Cubs debut Lester, with Chicago expected to be a challenger to St. Louis in the division this season. Wainwright was 3-1 with a 3.38 ERA in five starts against the Cubs last year.

St. Louis is +125 at Bovada to win the NL Central again while Chicago is the +250 second favorite.

Category : News

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