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What Adam Wainwright injury means

The Cardinals' playoff hopes will take a serious hit if he misses the 2011 season

Updated: February 23, 2011, 12:58 PM ET
By Dan Szymborski | Baseball Think Factory

Just one week after pitchers and catchers reported to spring training, Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals looks to be the first major casualty of the 2010 season. Wainwright, who ranked third and second in Cy Young voting the past two seasons, isn't yet scheduled to go under the knife, but the Cardinals are clearly very worried about the health of his arm. Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak has already told the press that it's believed the injury is "significant" and Tommy John surgery would result in Wainwright missing the entire 2011 season.

Wainwright is no stranger to injury, missing two months of the 2008 season with a sprained middle finger and most of the 2004 season with a tear to the same problem ligament. This couldn't come at a worse time for the Cardinals, given that the team is in win-now mode due to the uncertain future of Albert Pujols in St. Louis. Further complicating matters is the fact that Wainwright's injury comes well after all the desirable starting pitchers have been taken off the market, a fact that the New York Yankees already know too well as they attempt to clean up their back-of-the-rotation mess.

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