7:28pm: St. Louis GM Mike Girsch says that Wacha will not return this season, as MLB.com’s Jen Langosch tweets. Wacha’s oblique injury was aggravated, removing any chance of his return.
1:54pm: The Cardinals announced Monday that they’ve activated right-hander Adam Wainwright from the 60-day disabled list and transferred righty Michael Wacha from the 10-day DL to the 60-day DL in order to create space on the roster.
The 37-year-old Wainwright will start tonight’s game against the Pirates, marking his first appearance since May 13. The three-time All-Star and two-time Cy Young runner-up has been bothered by elbow issues for much of the season after initially landing on the DL for inflammation back in May. He’s been limited to four appearances in 2018, totaling just 18 innings of work for the Cards in that time.
Wainwright told reporters back in Spring Training that he had no plans to talk about his future in the game and has, to this point, held to that stance (link via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Rick Hummel). But given that the 2018 season is the final year on Wainwright’s contract, there’ll be plenty of speculation as to whether the next few weeks with the Cards represent his big league swan song. Any such determination surely won’t come until after the season, though, and it stands to reason that the manner in which he performs and his ability to recover after this month’s starts will prove instructive in making that call. Wainwright is earning $19.5MM this season in the final year of a five-year, $95MM extension he signed prior to the 2014 campaign.
As for Wacha, he hasn’t taken the mound since mid-June due to what seems to be a severe oblique injury. It should be noted that today’s news doesn’t technically mean his season is over. Wacha had already been on the disabled list for 60 days, so he’d already have filled that minimum requirement should the Cards deem him ready to pitch between now and season’s end. There’s been no indication that’s likely, however; to the contrary, Wacha was actually scratched from a rehab start last week due to renewed discomfort in his ailing oblique muscle. The 27-year-old enjoyed a fair bit of success when healthy this season, pitching to a 3.20 ERA with 7.6 K/9 against 3.8 BB/9 in 84 1/3 innings over the life of 15 starts.