Wainwright Returns Tonight After Nearly 4 Months on DL

September 10, 2018 - 12:04 pm

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) updated with quotes from Mike Shildt, Mike Girsch and Carson Kelly - When Adam Wainwright takes the mound Monday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates it will be his first time pitching in Busch Stadium since April 11 and his first MLB appearance since May 13. 

The recently turned 37-year-old will be out to prove he has something to offer a St. Louis Cardinals team, who's starting rotation currently features a 22-year-old Jack Flaherty, 24-year-old Austin Gomber and 25 year-old John Gant. Wainwright is 1-3 this season with a 4.00 ERA and a 15:14 strikeout to walk total. 

General mananger Mike Girsch says he'll be "cautiously optimistic" with the 13-year Cardinals pitcher. 

"If he pitches well, he's in the rotation for the rest of the season most likely," Girsch says. "If it doesn't go well then we'll adjust after the game, it's hard to say." 

Related story: Adam Wainwright Headed Towards Cardinals Rotation says John Mozeliak

In minor league rehab starts this year, Wainwright hasn't allowed a run in 22 innings of work, including 19 innings of shutout baseball since August 13. Rookie catcher Carson Kelly, who was a September call-up in St. Louis, will be behind the plate and he has some recent experience catching Waino in one of his starts at Triple-A Memphis. 

"Just how poised he is and everything he's done so far, I'm excited to get out there and be a part of that again," Kelly says. "Being able to be in the same clubhouse with him and just learn from him everything day is something I take to heart." 

Neither Cardinals manager Mike Shildt nor president of baseball operations John Mozeliak have expressed a desire to move Wainwright to the bullpen. Even though Carlos Martinez and Luke Weaver, who both began the year in the starting rotation, have seen success in the bullpen since the rise of the aforementioned youthful Cardinals starters. 

"Adam Wainwright, words almost can't describe the value that he has," Shildt says. "Special, special person." 

As far as the what the starting rotation could look like, we won't know until after Wainwright pitches. But Shildt did say Daniel Poncedeleon will return to the starting rotation on Wednesday so that St. Louis can be in the best position for a four-game weekend series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

Shildt says they know who they want starting those games, but will wait to announce it "in the next day or two."

In Wainwright's last appearance, a start in San Diego on May 13, he struggled to break 90 with his fastball and spin his breaking pitches. He walked six and allowed two runs in two and a third innings of work. When Wainwright was placed on the DL the next day, it was a concern that we had seen the last of Wainwright on a MLB mound. Since 2014, he's dealt with long-term stays on the disabled list due to knee, Achilles tendon, back and elbow issues. 

Related story: Adam Wainwright on Why St. Louis is a Baseball Town

First pitch of Monday's game against Pittsburgh is at 7:15 and pre-game coverage begins at 6:20 p.m. on KMOX 1120AM. 

In his career against the Pirates, Wainwright is 13-7 with a 4.28 ERA. He will likely be without his long-time battery mate Yadier Molina who didn't play in the weekend series in Detroit due to a hamstring injury last Wednesday against the Washington Nationals.