It’s a near certainty at this point that Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright is going to require Tommy John reconstructive surgery on his injured right elbow, but an official decision might not come for at least another 24 hours.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Wainwright has requested that MRI results taken Wednesday in St. Louis be shipped out to Dr. Lewis Yocum in Los Angeles for a second opinion. Yocum will review those results on Thursday and then recommend a course of action.
Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said Wednesday evening that his initial read on Wainwright’s injury has not changed. Mozeliak was the first to break the news to the media on Wednesday morning and also the first to mention the words “Tommy John.”
“Ninety-nine times out of 100 a player would seek a second opinion on this,” Mozeliak said Wednesday night. “At this point, Adam would like to seek a second opinion, so before we make any conclusions on what was found we’re going to do that at this time.”
Wainwright finished second in last year’s National League Cy Young Award vote after posting a 20-11 record, 2.42 ERA and 213 strikeouts across 230.1 innings. He meant 6.1 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) to the Cardinals and will be sorely missed no matter who steps in to take his place.
Kurt Suzuki will wear a Braves’ uniform through the 2018 season after signing a one-year, $3.5 million extension with the club on Saturday, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. Rosenthal adds that the two had been in talks for weeks and Suzuki made it clear that he wanted to remain in Atlanta for the foreseeable future. The team has yet to announce the extension.
Suzuki, 33, initially signed a one-year contract with the Braves back in January. The veteran backstop stepped into a backup role behind starting catcher Tyler Flowers, but still found a way to impress at the plate with a .271/.343/.525 batting line, career-best 18 home runs and an .868 OPS through 287 PA. According to FanGraphs, Suzuki’s 2.2 fWAR makes 2017 his most valuable season since his run with the 2009 Athletics.
It’s a prudent move for the Braves, who would have lost one of their most dynamic second-half hitters to the free agent market this offseason. Entering Saturday, Suzuki is second only to Freddie Freeman with 11 homers and 1.4 fWAR since the All-Star break. His stunning comeback also confirmed the team’s decision to look outside the organization for a backup catcher, rather than turning to fellow veteran Anthony Recker behind the plate.
“On a personal level, this season exceeded my expectations,” Suzuki told reporters on Wednesday. “It’s just one of those things I can’t explain. I put a lot of work in and really didn’t have a job until late January. I got an opportunity here and took advantage of it. It was definitely a good fit.”
Tigers’ outfielder Mikie Mahtook is unlikely to play again this season, club manager Brad Ausmus announced Saturday. Mahtook was diagnosed with a Grade 2 left groin strain following Friday’s series opener against the Twins, when he appeared to injure himself after chasing down Byron Buxton‘s two-RBI double in the fourth.
This is the second time Mahtook has sustained a groin injury over the past month. The 27-year-old exited Friday’s game with a .276/.330/.457 batting line, 12 home runs and a .787 OPS through 379 plate appearances with the team.
With the Tigers out of contention, there’s no reason to trot out Mahtook for the remaining eight games of the regular season. The club has yet to specify a timetable for his return, but there’s no reason to believe he won’t be in fine shape to compete for a starting role next spring.