St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright will open the season on the injured list and likely miss "several weeks" with a groin strain, manager Oliver Marmol told reporters Thursday (via MLB.com). Wainwright suffered the injury in the weight room Tuesday, prior to Team USA's loss to Japan in the World Baseball Classic championship game.
Wainwright, 41, served as USA's nominal ace in the WBC and threw four innings of one-run ball in a blowout win over Cuba on Sunday. His fastball has sat in the mid-80s this spring, down a bit from last year's 88.0 mph average. Last year he pitched to a 3.72 ERA in 191 2/3 innings. Wainwright has said 2023 will be his final season.
Right-hander Jake Woodford has impressed this spring, throwing 17 2/3 innings with a 2.03 ERA and 18 strikeouts, and appears to be the favorite to replace Wainwright in the rotation. Lefty Matthew Liberatore had a solid spring as well, though he was optioned down to minor-league camp earlier this week. The Cardinals could always bring him back to replace Wainwright though.
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Wainwright had been lined up to start Opening Day for St. Louis. It seems likely that assignment will now go to Miles Mikolas. The Cardinals' rotation depth chart currently looks something like this:
RHP Adam Wainwright(groin strain)
- RHP Miles Mikolas
- LHP Jordan Montgomery
- RHP Jack Flaherty
- LHP Steven Matz
- RHP Jake Woodford
- RHP Matthew Liberatore
- RHP Dakota Hudson
Hudson was reassigned to minor-league camp earlier this week. He's had a tough spring, allowing 17 hits with more walks (four) than strikeouts (three) in 8 2/3 innings. Last season was Hudson's first full year back from Tommy John surgery and he pitched to a 4.45 ERA in 139 2/3 innings. He finished fifth in the 2019 Rookie of the Year voting but is way down the depth chart now.
The Cardinals went 93-69 and won the NL Central in 2022. They lost to the eventually National League champion Philadelphia Phillies in the Wild Card Series. St. Louis opens the regular season at home against the Toronto Blue Jays next Thursday.