So much promise in a young Adam Wainwright and the St. Louis Cardinals... just not for this season.
But that right elbow... the throwing arm that can make or break a player. Tommy John Surgery to follow, and stick a fork in him, he's done for 12-18 months.
That would probably stick a fork in the Cardinals' season, too, since the NL Central is no longer Comedy Central past them. Unless the Cardinals find a way to ignite Colby Rasmus at something more offense-oriented as opposed to offensive to Tony Larussa (something I totally understand since I don't like Larussa either, but fortunately, I don't have to deal with him for 162 games + spring training) and get career years out of Matt Holliday and John Jay and better than last year stats out of Pujols (because Punto, Theriot, and Berkman just aren't the answers), this is going to be a long 2011.
Since 2006's relief pitcher introduction to the non-Missouri world in the World Series, Wainwright has been pretty reliable. Other than a shortened, 2008, he's had 200 strikeouts in each of the past 2 seasons and 19+20 wins to combine with Chris Carpenter for a sweet little 1-2 punch to keep Albert in playoff hopes.
Now, he's on the shelf and destined to be an afterthought in next year's campaign too - at least unless Michael Kaplan can do some James Andrews wonder to the arm of this young ace.
This isn't good. The Cardinals need a number 1/2 starter and they need the 230+ innings the young Wainwright is good for (5 complete games last year as well).
This really isn't good because the entire Cardinals pitching rotation has been rebuilt. We may have the technology to rebuild them, but when we rebuild them, there's always the potential for more troubles - even if we're led to believe that all is well because there's a 75% recovery rate for those who undergo the most extreme of pitching injuries - i.e. the dreaded Tommy John surgery.
But Edinson Volquez believes. He's already number one out of the gate for the Reds on opening day. I want to believe for Stephen Strasburg in 2012. I really do. He's the last player I really got excited to watch in this modern game of baseball that just isn't the good ol' days.
In other injury news that matters (Vicente Padilla is a loss, but is he the team anchor?), the Phillies are catching their collective breaths as well as Cliff Lee has a side muscle strain that means that all is not well in the greatest rotation ever (registered trademark only in Philadelphia - offer does not apply in Atlanta or Baltimore). Another chance for more injury or just a hiccup on the way to greatness in 2011?
Only time will tell -35 days to be exact.
Let the games begin.