St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright smiles in dugout.

(Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports)

Mozeliak: Wainwright 'Probably Slides Right Into Rotation' With 2 More Successful Starts

But how will interim manager Mike Shildt fit the veteran pitcher into the starting rotation?

August 28, 2018 - 9:10 am
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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - The St. Louis Cardinals have been through this before. An arm seemingly primed for the starting roatation is coming off the disabled list, but room will need to be made for him to fit.

In late May it was No. 1 prospect Alex Reyes after Tommy John surgery, then in early June it was Carlos Martinez returning from a lat strain – in the coming weeks the next one up will be Adam Wainwright. 

Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak talked with KMOX's Tom Ackerman on Sports on a Sunday Morning about the anticipated return of the 36-year-old right hander. He says Wainwright is probably two more successful rehab starts away from a return to the big leagues. 

"He's feeling very confident in where he's at because after he throws, his recovery is going well, he reached out to us to talk about possibly stretching him out," Mozeliak said on Sunday. "So he'll get (Monday's) start, five days later he'll get another one and depending on how that goes I can imagine trying to push him to 100 pitches. If that goes well then he probably slides right into our rotation."

Wainwright threw four innings of shutout baseball on Monday in Memphis, with his next chance to start will probably be on Saturday when the Redbirds play in Nashville. 

Also close to returning is the no-hitter capable Michael Wacha, who will make a rehab start with Double-A Springfield on Tuesday. Mozeliak said it's "exciting" to think about the possibilities of what St. Louis' starting rotation could look like in September. 

Assuming you have a healthy Wainwright and Michael Wacha in the next couple weeks, at interim manager Mike Shildt's disposal would be John Gant, Jack Flaherty, Miles Mikolas, Daniel Poncedeleon and Luke Weaver (and Carlos Martinez, who seems content in the bullpen).

"Really how we've had to insert some of the younger guys in there, they've done a great job," Mozeliak said. "I think one of the guys you just don't talk enough about is John Gant. He is someone that basically held the Colordo Rockies to a run, which is really quite amazing. 

"So I feel like we have a lot of options, I hope that Wacha, Wainwright both are contributing, because if we have that then I think we really will have a strength moving into September."

You can hear the full conversation between Mozeliak and Ackerman below, beginning at the 12:00 mark: