This was news that Cardinals fans didn’t want to hear. It was bad enough they might lose Albert Pujols at the end of the season to free agency, and now they will also lose the services of Adam Wainwright for the current season because of elbow surgery, to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch and MLB.com reported this afternoon thatÂ Wainwright will undergo the procedure in St. Louis, according to the team and MLB.com. This means that he will miss the entire 2011 season, and there is a possibility that he could miss the 2012 campaign, as well.
There has been no date set, but according to the team, the surgery–also known as Tommy John surgery–will be done by Cardinals physician George Paletta in St. Louis. Wainwright suffered the injury earlier this week in a bullpen session at the team’s winter home in Jupiter, Florida.
The Cardinals, who are trying to contend for the National League Central title, will try to fill his spot from within the organization, according to manager Tony LaRussa.Â St. Louis finished in second in the NL Central at 86-76, five games behind division winner Cincinnati.
The recovery from the surgery can take anywhere from 12 to 15 months.
It’s not the first time that the 30-year-old Wainwright, first drafted by the Atlanta Braves before being sent to St. Louis in 2005, has had difficulty with his right elbow. In 2004, he was diagnosed with a sprain in the ligament; back in high school, he also had a similar problem.
The Cardinals had him skip his last start of 2010 because of irritation in his forearm, a condition that he later acknowledged was related to a partially torn ligament in his elbow. He would finish the year with a 20-10 record and finished second in the Cy Young Race behind Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay.