GM says Cardinals will exercise Adam Wainwright’s 2012 and 2013 options

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Adam Wainwright has missed the entire season following Tommy John elbow surgery and will enter 2012 as a major question mark, which put the Cardinals in a tough position regarding his 2012 and 2013 options.

As part of Wainwright’s contract the Cardinals must decide by the end of this season whether to exercise both future options at a total cost of $21 million, but yesterday general manager John Mozeliak told Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch that they’ve already decided to pick up the options.

Mozeliak explained that the team is pleased with Wainwright’s rehab status so far and even if he ends up missing part of 2012 or needs half the season to work himself back into form $21 million for two years is certainly well below market value for an elite starter.

Wainwright insists that he’ll be 100 percent health by spring training and hinted that he might have been a postseason possibility for the Cardinals if they hadn’t fallen out of contention, but when it comes to Tommy John surgery and the 12-18 month recovery timetable there’s never a sure thing. St. Louis is taking a $21 million risk, but a healthy Wainwright is so good that it certainly makes sense.

Michael Wacha leaves game with a left oblique strain

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Cardinals starter Michael Wacha suffered a strained left oblique muscle during his start this afternoon against the Phillies, causing him to leave in the fourth inning.

Wacha is 8-2 with a 3.20 ERA and a 71/36 K/BB ratio in 84.1 innings across 15 starts this season with St. Louis. To the extent he has to miss some time — and obliques invariably send starters to the disabled list — potential fill-in candidates include John Gant, Daniel Poncedeleon and Dakota Hudson.