The St. Louis Cardinals will need a new Opening Day starter. Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol told reporters on Thursday that veteran pitcher Adam Wainwright will start the season on the IL with a groin strain. He picked up the injury during the World Baseball Classic and will miss several weeks to begin the year. The 41-year-old Wainwright has said that this will be the final year of his career.
Wainwright is heading into the 18th season of his career. He doesn’t have the life on his fastball that he used to, but Waino can still hang with anybody when he is having a good day with his control. 2021 was a resurgent year for him as he finished with a 17-7 record and a 3.05 ERA. He took a slight step back in 2022, pitching in 32 games and tallying an 11-12 record with a 3.71 ERA. Whenever he is healthy, he is still serviceable in the Cardinals rotation but will likely begin a victory lap with teams honoring him whenever he returns this season.
Wainwright will be without veteran catcher Yadier Molina who hung up his cleats following the 2022 season. St. Louis signed catcher Willson Contreras to a 5-year, $87.5 million deal as his replacement. With Wainwright sidelined, it is expected that Jake Woodford will slot info him in the rotation. He had a solid spring and checks a lot of boxes for St. Louis as a holdover for Waino. The Cards have yet to name an Opening Day starter replacement for their March 30 matchup against the Toronto Blue Jays at home.