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Adam Wainwright threw from 120 feet yesterday

Aug 23, 2011, 10:15 AM EST

adam-wainwright-cardinals2 AP

Adam Wainwright‘s comeback from Tommy John elbow surgery has progressed to the point that he made 50 throws from 120 feet yesterday, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

Wainwright, who went under the knife in late February, is hoping to be cleared to throw off a mound at some point in September, saying: “I can see the light at the end of this.”

He won’t pitch in the majors this season, but Wainwright’s progress is very important because the Cardinals must decide whether to exercise their $9 million option on him for 2012 and their $13 million option for 2013.

If healthy he’s obviously worth that money and then some, but $22 million is an awfully big commitment to voluntarily make to a pitcher coming off Tommy John surgery, even if it’s an elite pitcher. The assumption all season has been that the Cardinals would exercise Wainwright’s options as long as he avoided any serious setbacks.

  1. yankeesfanlen - Aug 23, 2011 at 10:21 AM

    If he can pitch from 120 feet, will TLR have him play second too?

  2. cardsfanindelaware - Aug 23, 2011 at 10:40 AM

    Having the option to sign an elite pitcher and control him for $22 mil for 2 years is a no-brainer. It would be a travesty if the Card’s don’t pick up his option years. Waino is worth $20 mil a year!

    • cardsfanindelaware - Aug 23, 2011 at 10:42 AM

      …unless the front office can parlay this into a long term contract, which is the angle they should go with at this point in his young career.

    • dodger88 - Aug 23, 2011 at 10:43 AM

      Agreed, plus he is likley to be better in 2013 when the price tag is at its highest. While no guarantees, I think Wainwright will be worth the $9 million in 2012 and consdiering that those coming back from TJS improve with time he could be worth the $13 million in 2013.

  3. Alex K - Aug 23, 2011 at 11:16 AM

    Does anyone know how his breaking ball is, though? Isn’t that one of the worries about TJ, that they will “leave their breaking ball on the table” like Humber did? (My source for this bit of info is Keith Law on a Baseball Today podcast last week)

    • Alex K - Aug 23, 2011 at 11:17 AM

      To be clear, I hope that this is not the case, but you never know until he is throwing off the mound.

    • paperlions - Aug 23, 2011 at 11:26 AM

      No that I am aware of, typically control is more of an issue during recovery from TJ than a return of velocity or secondary pitches.

      • Alex K - Aug 23, 2011 at 11:58 AM

        That was always my thought, as well.

    • Alex K - Aug 23, 2011 at 11:58 AM

      I heard that this was a concern last week from Keith Law on the Baseball Today podcast. I wasn’t aware that loss of “stuff” was a concern, either. But apparently Phillip Humber’s curveball has never come back since he had TJ.

      • paperlions - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:44 PM

        Well, the curve-ball is all in the wrist, which is controlled by forearm muscles, whose tendons originate in the elbow…so I could see where replacement of a ligament and associated surgical trauma to the area could affect tendons and associated muscles that control the wrist.

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