St. Louis Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak delivered the news regarding two injured players on Monday at Busch Stadium. The bad news involved catcher Yadier Molina, who has a partially torn ligament and is out indefinitely. The good news regarded ace Adam Wainwright, who has been out since May with a torn Achilles tendon that required corrective surgery and rehabilitation. Wainwright has been cleared to resume baseball activities.
MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch tweeted video of Mozeliak spreading the good word:
Fox Sports Midwest tweeted video of manager Mike Matheny's assessment of the Wainwright news, which was appropriately measured:
I have long found the term "baseball activities" interesting, because it seems to be narrower in usage than what are in fact baseball activities. Take Wainwright, for instance. He has been throwing for some time now. Not hard. But he's been throwing. (The picture I chose for this post was snapped at Wrigley Field over the weekend.) Here, "baseball activities" involves fielding his position and throwing at game speed. As Mozeliak shared in his statement to the media, the hope is to have Waino throw a simulated game this weekend.
Not surprisingly, Wainwright has taken the news a step further than his manager or GM. Remember that Wainwright's initial timetable for his return to pitching was between nine and 12 months post-surgery, which took place at the end of April. It's the end of September, so Wainwright is a little less than five months removed from surgery. To take the mound next month would be somewhere between three to six months ahead of the initial timetable for his return.
The news is doubtlessly heartening and Wainwright's desire to pitch out of the pen next month understandable, but I nonetheless would not be surprised to see the Cards tap the brakes on Wainwright's return in the weeks ahead. After all, they've already paid Wainwright $19.5 million for 25 innings in 2015 and owe the righty $19.5 million more in each of 2016, 2017, and 2018. That's $58.5 million left to go on his contract. Given the financial commitment and just how far ahead of schedule Wainwright is, the Cardinals may decide that a prudent approach is best. And that's even before we even get to assessing the quality of Wainwright's stuff as he attempts to work his way back.