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Mailbag: Injury bug, the real WainwrightPosted Saturday, May 19, 2012, at 8:22 PM
By COREY NOLES
This week I received some pretty important questions, so I wanted to make sure we could have a mailbag edition.
It looks like the Cardinals are falling victim to a lot of injuries (Beltran, Craig, McClellan, Jay). I can't imagine how they can make it very far without those guys. What does this mean to the team?
It's certainly not a good thing, but they're capable of surviving it. First, I want to clarify something. Carlos Beltran is not in the same boat with those guys. His knee was "barking" a little bit early in the week, so they rested him. He is not expected to spend any time on the disabled list. He would be the biggest loss of them all in my opinion because he has been such a crucial piece of the team's success since the beginning of the season. Matheny was very up front at the beginning of the season that on occasion they would have to rest Beltran for a couple of days and I expect this to be one of those situations.
Craig is a problem. As I write this on Friday morning, he has been placed back on the DL. On a Wednesday night play in centerfield, he seems to have pulled a hamstring. It's not a serious injury but they can be difficult to come back from because quite often they nag on for awhile (similar to Lance Berkman's calf). Jay is a major loss given his production, but will hopefully return once his DL stint is over.
It's possible he could need more time, but ideally it will clear itself up soon.
Kyle McClellan is a big loss at the moment. He, along with Victor Marte, are the only "innings-eaters" in the bullpen, and I'm not familiar with any of the long-relievers in Memphis. McClellan had Tommy John surgery in 2006 and is afraid he may be looking at the same scenario again. By the time you read this, we will likely know the prognosis and I don't expect it to be good. No one has seemed very optimistic on the issue.
Adam Wainwright still seems to be struggling. He didn't look like his old self. When do you think we can expect to see the old Waino again?
This is a question we keep looking at and each week I feel like I know less than the last week. He seems to have a good game followed by a rough game. In his defense, Thursday's game against the Giants wasn't entirely his fault as only two of the days runs were earned. In 5.2 IP, he gave up six hits. The part that bothers me most is the four walks and only one strikeout. While he wasn't by any means stellar, he did put together a good outing that on a normal day should have won the game. If you take out the three errors and the tenth of an inning by Kyle McClellan, who we didn't yet know was injured, that game is a win. Victor Marte, Mitchell Boggs and Eduardo Sanchez combined for two solid innings, but weren't able to fix what had already been done.
Wainwright, while still struggling, isn't looking horrible like he did early on in the season. He's progressing, just slowly. In all reality,and I've said this before, two or three starts in Memphis could have done him a lot of good. My guess is, we won't see the real Waino consistently until after the All-Star Break. He is certainly making progress, but seems more frustrated than we usually see him. We will see glimpses and he will improve, but Tommy John surgery is a major operation. Typically, the time from surgery to "back to normal" is about 18 months. Wainwright currently sits at about 14 months. Just continue to be patient. He will come around.
To submit a question for the Balls & Strikes Mailbag, either e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, call (573)624-4545, or fill out the form at dailystatesman.com/blogs/coreynoles/
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Corey Noles, staff writer for The Daily Statesman and Editor of The North Stoddard Countian, is the author of a regular baseball/St. Louis Cardinals column and also uses his blog to sound off on various happenings in sports. He also operates a weekly baseball mailbag column.
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