Down Cards’ ace accepting reality
Posted: Wednesday, March 2, 2011 4:57 pm
JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — Adam Wainwright has a “sense of peace” with the elbow injury that will cost him the entire season and believes he will be back full strength in one year.
The St. Louis Cardinals’ ace spoke on a conference call Tuesday, a day after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right arm. He is recovering in St. Louis and expects to begin rehab in 13 days at the team’s spring training facility.
“I’m dealing with a lost season,” Wainwright said. “But I’ve definitely come to terms with it. I was blessed with a big sense of peace. Ever since the night that I did it, I had a gut feeling that it was probably the time. My elbow had gone.”
Wainwright felt stiffness on pitch 33 of a 35-pitch live batting practice session on Feb. 21. At first he hoped he had just hyperextended his elbow but knew something was seriously wrong that night after waking from a nap.
“I immediately knew what that feeling was, I had done it twice before,” Wainwright said. “I called our trainer pretty shortly after that and that’s one of the hardest things to do, to call someone and tell them you are hurt. Especially as excited as I was going into this season, not just for me, but for the guys that I was going to get to play with. I really feel like we have an amazing team and hopefully they will still win and do all that stuff. I’m really going to be rooting them.”
Wainwright was 20-11 with a 2.42 ERA last season, finishing second to Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay in Cy Young balloting while making his first All-Star team. His 2.93 ERA since 2007 trails only Halladay, and no NL pitcher totaled more than Wainwright’s 463.1 innings during the past two seasons.
In 2009, Wainwright led the NL in wins (19), innings (233) and starts (34), winning a Gold Glove while finishing third in Cy Young voting.
Wainwright injured the elbow twice before, the first time in 1998, and he missed his final start of the 2010 season because of the elbow.
He had been told by doctors there was just a 10 percent chance it would heal on its own. But the timing of this injury was a surprise because he was feeling so good. He said he followed a rigorous offseason conditioning program primarily to keep his elbow healthy.
“I threw seven bullpen sessions, and my mechanics and delivery and my arm felt great,” he said about the offseason. “That’s why it was such a shocker to me. It just goes to show you that it was just time for it to happen.”
Although the ligament was not completely torn, Wainwright described it as “basically the whole thing was mangled.” He will rehab during the summer in St. Louis but will start his program in Florida.
“The protocol nowadays is a 11.5 months program,” Wainwright said. “Everything I’ve heard is I’ll be back full steam ... ready to go this time next year spring training.”