Adam Wainwright off to awful start in return from Tommy John surgery


Adam Wainwright gave up a three-run homer to Ian Stewart in the first and a grand slam to Bryan LaHair in the third Friday as the Cardinals lost 9-5 to the Cubs in their home opener.

Wainwright was taken out after allowing eight runs in three innings. He fell to 0-2 with an 11.42 ERA on the young season.

In Wainwright’s defense, LaHair’s slam was wind-aided and still barely cleared the fence in left-center. A better left fielder than Matt Holliday might have been able to go up and take it away.

Still, Wainwright wasn’t impressive at all. His velocity actually appears to have regressed since the beginning of the spring, and he walked a pair of batters leading up to LaHair’s slam.

Fortunately, all of the Cardinals’ other starters have looked impressive thus far, and they should be able to hang in the NL Central race even with Chris Carpenter out indefinitely and Wainwright struggling out of the gate. They’re currently 5-1 in games not started by Wainwright.

Mike Fiers may not be ready for start of regular season due to back issue

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Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports that Tigers starter Mike Fiers is dealing with a back issue and may not be ready for the start of the season. Manager Ron Gardenhire characterized the injury as a “stiff back” and added, “Maybe a little bit of a bulging disk or something like that.”

Fiers, 32, signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Tigers in December. He has had a forgettable spring, yielding 12 runs on 10 hits and eight walks with seven strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings.

Fiers had a rotation spot locked up along with Michael Fulmer, Jordan Zimmermann, and Francisco Liriano. Matt Boyd and Daniel Norris were battling it out for the No. 5 spot. If Fiers opens the regular season on the 10-day disabled list, both could have spots in the rotation.