Adam Wainwright could need Tommy John surgery

St. Louis Cardinals Adam Wainwright delivers a pitch to the San Diego Padres in the fourth inning at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on September 19, 2010. Wainwright picked up his 19th win of the season the 4-1. win. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

The Albert Pujols contract situation just took a backseat to more depressing news for St. Louis Cardinal fans.

Adam Wainwright suffered what is being called a significant elbow injury in spring training and the early reports are that he’ll need Tommy John surgery.

Make no mistake, this would be a disastrous situation for the Cardinals. As in, hey Milwaukee Brewers, the door is open, why don’t you come in and make yourself at home at the top of the NL Central kind of disastrous situation. Wainwright is one of the game’s best pitchers and has finished in the top three of the NL Cy Young balloting each of the past two seasons. Without him in the rotation, the Cards will certainly struggle to stay afloat in the division.

If he does wind up having surgery, the options are slim for replacements. According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, early speculation is that the Cards will go after Kevin Millwood, which wouldn’t be a bad move. Millwood is 36-years-old and had an ERA of 5.10 last season, but he would benefit from the move to the NL and the pitcher-friendly Busch Stadium. He’s better than a sharp stick in the eye.

But obviously Millwood is no Wainwright. Assuming he’s out for the season, this injury not only hurts the Cardinals but the game of baseball as well. Major League Baseball needs its stars on the field.

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