The Cardinals announced on Tuesday that Adam Wainwright is flying back to St. Louis for medical treatment. It’s a testament to the generally unhealthy nature of repeatedly hurling a baseball overhead and the questions surrounding Wainwright’s throwing elbow in particular that, upon hearing the nature of his ailment, lead one to respond: "Whew, just abdominal pain…" Yet that’s where we are. Or at least I am.
Three years after Wainwright’s 2011 season ended before it began due to Tommy John surgery necessitated by a torn ulnar collateral ligament. Last season, Wainwright pitched hurt for most of the season. The weakness in his arm prevented him from popping open a Sprite can on at least one occasion. Last week Wainwright sat down with FOX’s Ken Rosenthal and shared that every start during the second half of the 2014 season was the worst he has felt physically as a pitcher. That’s how much pain he was in when pitching every fifth day. We’re now several months removed from Wainwright undergoing surgery to shave cartilage off the back of his throwing elbow just a few days after general manager John Mozeliak indicated that the righty had undergone a battery of tests and surgery would not be needed. The condition of Wainwright’s right elbow is such a disconcerting question that news of abdominal pain that necessitates flying from Florida to St. Louis brings about both relief as well as trepidation (brought on by Mozeliak describing the club’s concern as "medium," as reported by Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch even if MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch quotes Mozeliak as "not overly concerned.")
Details are scant. We don’t know the diagnosis let alone the prognosis. That being said, it seems safe to assume that Wainwright will miss at least a few days of camp, which will put his preparation for coming season at least a bit behind his teammates. In an odd twist of fate, such a delay might put Wainwright’s schedule somewhat in line with the Cardinals’ plans, as described in an article at MLB.com by Langosch, to reduce his spring workload this year after he pitched from February through October each of the last three years and underwent the aforementioned elbow surgery after the Giants’ 4-1 NLCS win over the Cardinals last fall. But we can worry about Wainwright’s preparation for the 2015 regular season later. First thing’s first: Get well soon, Waino.