Cardinals exercise 2012, 2013 options on Adam Wainwright

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General manager John Mozeliak said last month that the Cardinals planned to exercise their 2012 and 2013 options on rehabbing right-hander Adam Wainwright and now they’ve made things official.

Wainwright, who missed the entire season following Tommy John elbow surgery during spring training, will earn $9 million in 2012 and $12 million in 2013. That total commitment of two years and $21 million is the exact same amount rotation-mate Chris Carpenter agreed to last month as a contract extension.

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch “the club expects Wainwright to have a normal offseason and be cleared for full workouts come next spring training.”

Goold reports that Wainwright recently had to stop throwing for a week when going at close to full strength disrupted some painful scar tissue, but he’s resumed playing catch. Making a $21 million commitment to someone who hasn’t pitched since 2010 is obviously a big risk, but before the surgery Wainwright ranked among the truly elite starters in baseball and even with Albert Pujols’ status up in the air the Cardinals will clearly remain in win-now mode for next season.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.