Making his spring debut after missing all of 2011, Adam Wainwright pitched two hitless innings against the Twins on Friday.
Wainwright was consistently in the low-90s in the outing, showing the same velocity he did prior to his Tommy John surgery last spring. He wasn’t perfect with his command, throwing 14 of his 30 pitches for balls, but he didn’t need to be against a Twins offense that also missed 2011 and still appears absent now.
The Cardinals have already announced that Wainwright’s next start has been moved up, as he’ll pitch on three days’ rest instead of the usual four. It sounds as if the ailing Chris Carpenter will be backed off his scheduled Opening Day assignment, leaving Wainwright and Jaime Garcia as the first two starters in the rotation.
Athletics right-hander Jharel Cotton will undergo Tommy John surgery, per an announcement on Saturday. Cotton initially experienced some elbow soreness during a Cactus League start earlier this week and was officially diagnosed with a strained ulnar collateral ligament and strained flexor muscle on Thursday. He’ll be out of commission until 2019 at the earliest.
This isn’t the first time Cotton has dealt with elbow issues. According to MLB.com’s Jane Lee, he had screws inserted in his right elbow after sustaining a stress fracture in 2013 and suffered some minor elbow discomfort again last fall. Prior to his diagnosis, the 26-year-old was poised for his third run with the A’s in 2018. He pitched his first full season with the club in 2017, turning in a 5.58 ERA, 3.7 BB/9 and 7.3 SO/9 in 24 starts and 129 innings.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle adds that the team is open to adding pitching depth this spring, though they’ll wait to see if the price goes down on some free agents first. Barring that, right-handed long reliever Andrew Triggs could be tabbed to fill the fifth spot in the rotation.