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Cardinals believe Michael Wacha will pitch again this season

Aug 5, 2014, 10:15 AM EDT

Michael Wacha Getty Getty Images

Cardinals right-hander Michael Wacha has been cleared to begin a throwing program after sitting out the past six weeks with a stress reaction in his shoulder.

No official timetable has been established for Wacha’s return, but general manager John Mozeliak gave a straightforward “yes” answer to Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post Dispatch when asked if the Cardinals expect the 23-year-old to pitch again this season.

For now the plan is for Wacha to throw for a couple weeks and then be reevaluated to see how his shoulder feels, which seems to indicate early September would be the earliest he might return to the majors. Before being shut down Wacha built on his impressive rookie campaign by posting nearly identical numbers as a sophomore, including a 2.79 ERA and 83/26 K/BB ratio in 90 innings spread over 15 starts.

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  1. cincinata - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:26 AM

    My prediction is this: Wacha will NOT pitch again this year. I am sure that the cards are hopeful, but these things almost never come out in the pitchers favor. If he starts to throw and again starts to feel pain, he had better stop or risk permanent injury. I would hate to see this talented guy never pitch again, even if it means having to face him again. They had better not force this issue.

    • emrtgb - Aug 5, 2014 at 1:03 PM

      Not sure why people are disliking this…

      It would probably be in the Cardinals’ and Wacha’s best interest if he didn’t pitch this year. I’m as big of a Wacha honk as anyone, but sacrificing his entire career for a couple weeks in September is not worth it to me.

      Yes, he can contribute in October if we get there, but with a current rotation of Wainwright, Lackey, Lynn, and Masterson, I don’t see a huge need for a starter at this point. Throw in the fact that he hasn’t pitched since June and will probably need some time to get back to his usual self.

      I would love to see Wacha pitch again this year, but let’s remember he’s only 23, and the Cardinals went out and got Masterson and Lackey for the simple fact to preserve their young arms. How awful would it be if he came back, pitched okay, but then reinjured his shoulder, potentially in a worse way? Mark Mulder, anyone?

      • Paper Lions - Aug 5, 2014 at 1:12 PM

        I didn’t thumb it down, but it is a comment based on no information other than, “he was hurt, so he should sit out until next year”….which, of course, is NOT what happens to the majority of pitchers, people just ignore all of the instances in which pitchers return are are fine.

        In addition, there has only ever been 1 other pitcher with this injury. You can’t accurately say “these things never come out in the pitchers favor”, when only 1 thing like this has ever been documented.

        If he’s healthy and can pitch, there is no reason to wait until next year….will he get “more healthy”? Fact is the team has a crap ton more information than we do and any judgement made from here falls well inside the “making crap up” arena.

      • stex52 - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:27 PM

        I have heard some pretty bad things about this microfracture problem. I hope it turns out better for Wacha than my source was suggesting to me. It would be really too bad for the kid if it just won’t heal right.

        But on this topic I am strictly a captive of my sources.

      • cincinata - Aug 6, 2014 at 9:44 AM

        Hey Paper:

        Does the Garcia situation now change you mind a bit? They had better treat this guy very carefully or else you will have another pitcher thrown on the trash heap. I am sure we will never face Garcia again in Cinti. Now if we don’t have to face Wacha again, we are in a good spot. Good luck to your thinking.

  2. beepbeepbeeplgb - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:39 AM

    yeah, you never know with these kind of injuries. plus as all cards fans know, the front office isn’t the best at evaluating these kind of things. if he can come back though, wainwright-lackey-wacha-lynn-masterson, that would be quite the rotation. funny to think masterson may not even pitch if we make the playoffs w/ the way lynn has pitched this year.

    • beepbeepbeeplgb - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:06 AM

      oh yeah, forgot miller. who knows where he’ll be.

      • danielk1991 - Aug 5, 2014 at 12:04 PM

        Hopefully in the bullpen at best. Miller has been the headcase of the Cardinals pitching staff this year kicking Lynn off the podium.

    • SocraticGadfly - Aug 5, 2014 at 12:37 PM

      It’s all going to depend on the standings at the time Wacha might be ready. If they’re within 2 games, let alone ahead, in the division on Sept. 10 or whenever, he pitches. If they’re 4 or more out or something, he doesn’t.

      • cincinata - Aug 5, 2014 at 1:13 PM

        It doesn’t matter where they are in the standings. If he is not ready, they can not force it. He should sit out until healed, and hopefully this will not show up next Spring.

    • missingdiz - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:27 PM

      I’m not sure yet that Masterson will last in the rotation. One start isn’t enough to judge, of course, but, still, giving up 5 runs in 6 innings isn’t very encouraging. Especially from a guy who came over with a 5.51 ERA. I hope he’s better than that, but we haven’t seen it yet.

  3. gibbyfan - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:43 AM

    I’m hoping both he and Yadi are back and ready just in thime for the PS

  4. yahmule - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:52 AM

    if he’s truly healthy at some point, I don’t see the logic in shutting him down for the year.

  5. mungman69 - Aug 5, 2014 at 12:23 PM

    Even though this guy is younger LOOK what happened when the Phillies brought back Cliff Lee too soon. Take your time is easier said than done though.

  6. stlouis1baseball - Aug 5, 2014 at 1:50 PM

    The Cardinals believe Michael Wacha will pitch again this season = The Cardinals believe Michael Wacha may or may not be ready for Spring Training.

  7. westcoastredbird - Aug 5, 2014 at 3:07 PM

    Could be the tallest pitching staff in baseball history. Waino-6’7, Wacha-6’6, Lackey 6’6, Masterson-6’6, and Lynn-6’5.

    • missingdiz - Aug 5, 2014 at 3:13 PM

      Ah ha! So that’s why they got rid of Kelly.

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