It’s hard to deny Adam Wainwright in any arena. Fantasy football, barbecue preparation, dugout comedian, team leader or dominant starting pitcher. Having said that, the St. Louis Cardinals shouldn’t expect Wainwright back in 2015. They don’t need him this year, unless he can play the outfield and hit. The need for pitching just doesn’t exist on a team carrying the best team ERA in the National League.
All I have heard for the past two weeks is the idea of Waino coming back way before he was expected to return. When he tore his Achilles Heel back in late April, the book on his 2015 season was closed quite tightly. The recovery time was several months and would not allow him to return this season. If he were rushed back, infection and aggravation could cause more surgery, as was the case with Ryan Howard in 2012.
Wainwright has talked about it. Radio shows have discussed it. The question has been brought to General Manager John Mozeliak’s attention, and even he seemed surprised on the Fox Sports Midwest telecast Tuesday night. When asked about Waino saying his return this season isn’t out of the question, Mo’s silky smooth retort was, “Does he?” The honest response is Waino still has to clear a lot of major hurdles in order to get back. He has to throw from a mound several times, getting the feel back. He has to face some live competition. Live bats. He needs the proper rest in between. He needs the leg to not react badly to ANY of this. See how I am stepping into far fetched land here?
Why rush back your staff ace when the pitching staff is thriving? When there isn’t a need? Right now the Cardinals would have to make a tough decision on a playoff rotation. Who would get kicked out of a strong five man rotation? Why make Waino a sixth? Would he be at 100 percent? Would 65-80% Waino be any better than Tyler Lyons and Tim Cooney? No. People will then say, how about the bullpen? They look pretty stout down there from the right side, so why put Waino in a role he hasn’t been in since the 2006 World Series? There is no need.
Unless Wainwright is being brought back to hit, there is no reason. Can he play the outfield? Can he pinch hit? He certainly may be a threatening bat when mixed in with the Cards bench, but that’s how he hurt the heel in the first place so again, why push it?
Any answer lacks logic and I have heard them all. Adam Wainwright needs to focus on getting ready for 2016 and if keeping the competitive edge in his mind that a return this year isn’t out of questions helps him, so be it.
For all intents and purposes, Wainwright is still out of action this season. There’s no reason to change that. Wainwright’s 2015 season has been lost. There’s no reason to put his 2016 in jeopardy as well. Especially when it’s not needed.
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