JUNE 25: The expectation is that Wacha will be out until after the All-Star break, Cards GM Mike Girsch tells reporters including MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch (via Twitter). Given the nature of the injury, it’s no surprise to hear that he has already more or less been ruled out for that duration.
What’s interesting about the timing is that the Cardinals may or may not have a clear picture of Wacha’s outlook when the trade deadline hits. If he’s close to full strength or back in the majors, perhaps rotation depth won’t be as much of a need. Any significant uncertainty surrounding Wacha would boost the likelihood of a move to add a starter, though it’s also possible the St. Louis organization will focus on other, more pressing roster needs regardless.
JUNE 21, 10:50pm: The Cardinals have termed the oblique strain to be “moderate,” per MLB.com’s Joe Trezza (Twitter link). While it’s obviously good news for the team that Wacha isn’t looking at a severe strain that’ll keep him out for months, Trezza notes that the team still expects to be without Wacha for “at least” a couple of weeks.
2:26pm: The Cardinals announced that they have placed righty Michael Wacha on the 10-day DL, as had been expected. He’s dealing with a left oblique strain.
Fellow righty John Gant will come up to take his place on the active roster. For the time being, Gant may move into the pen, though the Cards will ultimately have to fill in a rotation opening. At present, the team will rely on Carlos Martinez, Miles Mikolas, Luke Weaver and Jack Flaherty in the starting five. Gant could step into that role, though the team also has rotation options in the form of Austin Gomber and Daniel Poncedeleon.
The open question is just how long the St. Louis organization will go without Wacha. He has had a strong campaign to date, working to a 3.20 earned run average with 7.6 K/9 against 3.8 BB/9 through 84 1/3 innings. The Cardinals didn’t provide an immediate timeline, though even Grade 1 oblique strains have been known to keep players on the disabled list for upwards of a month. With Alex Reyes already out for the season and Adam Wainwright’s status still uncertain, the pressures on the rotation are mounting.