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Posted at 10:24 AM ET, 02/23/2011

Wainwright injury a devastating blow for Cardinals

By Dave Sheinin

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is reporting that ace Adam Wainwright has been sent back to St. Louis to be examined by team doctors for what appears to be a "significant" elbow injury. The words "Tommy John surgery" appear prominently in the story.

This is a crushing blow for the Cardinals. If it really is a torn ligament, and if Wainwright needs ligament-replacement surgery (the same procedure Stephen Strasburg underwent last year), Wainwright -- with the exception of Albert Pujols, the Cardinals' most indispensable player -- would miss all of 2011 and possibly part of 2012 as well. He was the Cy Young runner-up in the National League in 2010 and the third-place finisher in 2009.

The implications here are huge. Among other things, the path to the NL Central title for the Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds just got a great deal clearer, the messy Pujols contract situation gained another layer of complexity, and Kevin Millwood (arguably the top free agent pitcher still on the market) may have just found a new home.

By Dave Sheinin  | February 23, 2011; 10:24 AM ET
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Next: Utley's injury an ominous development for Phillies


If this adds a layer of complexity to the Pujols deal, then I've got to believe that Pujols would be more interested in another ring than resigning with the Cards. This, of course, further supports the Nats as his primary destination.

/slaps self, wakes up from delusion

Posted by: joemktg1 | February 23, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I'd like to dream of Albert Pujols in DC myself! The injury to Wainwright is a big deal for the Cardinals pitching staff and it sounds like his season is already over before opening day rolls around, tough break!

Posted by: Beltwayboy7 | February 23, 2011 4:35 PM | Report abuse

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