Adam Wainwright exits spring training with abdominal pain


St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright had to exit spring training due to lingering abdominal pain.

Uh oh. St. Louis Cardinals fans should be holding their collective breath as Adam Wainwright has reportedly left the team in spring training. The nine-year MLB veteran and perennial Cy Young candidate is apparently suffering from abdominal pain and will be further evaluated back in St. Louis. More information is expected on Thursday.

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Should things take a turn for the worst with Wainwright’s health this season, 2015 begins to look a lot less promising for St. Louis’s playoff hopes. In an already stacked National League Central division, the Cardinals are hoping to somehow win their third consecutive crown.

In their way will be the recently resurgent Pittsburgh Pirates, who have won two straight wild cards in their own right, and the young upstart Chicago Cubs, whom might just have enough talent to finally get over the hump.

Wainwright has been the cornerstone of the Cardinals’s rotation for the past six seasons, finishing in the top three for NL Cy Young Award voting in four of those years. Twice during that span has he lead the National League in wins, earning 19 victories in 2009 and 2013.

To understand just how consistent Wainwright has been, one need only take a look at his line over the past six seasons. Since 2008, he has won 103 games and lost just 53. His ERA is 2.87 (135 ERA+), and he has struck out 1,098 hitters in 1,262.2 innings pitched. For those who like to factor out defense, something St. Louis is also very much known for valuing (Wainwright owns two gold gloves himself), his FIP, or “fielding independent pitching,” is 2.98.

Losing him would deal a gigantic hit to the team that has relied heavily on its starting pitching in recent years. It would not however, be a death blow. Behind Wainwright in the rotation sits a formidable assortment of talented young arms.

Lance Lynn, 27, posted a 2.74 ERA last season for the Cards in what could be described as a break out campaign for the young righty. And 22 year old Michael Wacha will look to take even greater strides forward after 3.04 mark over his first two years in the bigs.

Should the team require a true veteran presence in the rotation in the case of Wainwright’s potential absence, the Cardinals still have John Lackey who, despite a disappoint finish to last season, can still provide a team with a full year’s worth of quality pitching.

That being said, manager Mike Matheny knows his club is at its strongest when their ace is healthy. Hopefully that will be the case by opening day.

H/T NBC Sports

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