St. Louis Cardinals: An update on Adam Wainwright

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SAN DIEGO, CA - MAY 13: Adam Wainwright #50 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on May 13, 2018 in San Diego. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - MAY 13: Adam Wainwright #50 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on May 13, 2018 in San Diego. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /
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Former St. Louis Cardinals ace, Adam Wainwright, has been out since late May with inflammation in his throwing elbow.

Adam Wainwright has thrown just 18 innings for the St. Louis Cardinals this season, with an ERA of four. But he might not come back in the same role. There are talks about him moving into the bullpen, however, he has to return first.

The bullpen might be the best place for him, but more on that later. Step two is not able to happen until step one occurs. So that leaves the question, when will Waino be back?

Waino’s Return

Elbow inflammation is not something to take lightly, so his return will not be rushed. According to Mark Saxon, the return is to be expected at some point in August. It was only recently that he started throwing again.

Waino In The Bullpen

For his career, Wainwright has pitched 348 games for the St. Louis Cardinals, and started 281 of them. His last relief appearance came in 2015, when he returned from an injury. That year, three of his seven appearances were in relief.

His career totals 82 appearances in relief, with an ERA of 3.40. Compared to starting, it is really not close. Wainwright has 1,827.2 innings with a lower ERA. But keep in mind that the bulk of his relief appearances were early in his career. From 2007-2014, he started every game he appeared in.

Present Waino In The Bullpen

At age 36, and coming off of elbow injury, the shorter stints will be better. Wainwright as a starter the last few years has not been a very pretty sight. It is not that he is any worse, he is just getting older and his stamina is not what it used to be. That is not an abnormal phenomena. So, maybe the bullpen is the right call.

Waino And The Future

With all the talent looming for the the future of the St. Louis Cardinals rotation, this could be a way for Wainwright to finish his career on a strong note. In short bursts, he will be very good. First time through the order last year yielded a 1.70 lower ERA than the second time through. That will play out very well.

Next: Hitting coach alternatives

As always, he needs to heal first. Once he does, we will figure out what role he plays for the St. Louis Cardinals. If for no other reason than the rotation is very strong already, the bullpen is the right move.

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