St. Louis Cardinals: Injury just changed Opening Day plans dramatically

An injury bombshell has just changed the plans for the St. Louis Cardinals when they open the season at home on March 30 against the Toronto Blue Jays.

St. Louis Cardinals news: Adam Wainwright to open season on injured list

News broke on Thursday morning that 41-year-old right-hander Adam Wainwright will open the season on the injured list with a groin strain. Wainwright, entering his final season, threw 8.0 innings in two starts for the United States during the World Baseball Classic, earning a pair of wins while scattering 10 hits and allowing just two runs. He pitched four innings in Team USA’s rout of Cuba in the semifinals that pushed the United States into the title game.

Wainwright was expected to get the Opening Day start for the Cardinals, which would have been his seventh for the franchise and second consecutive nod. However, the injury will prevent that from happening and could move Miles Mikolas, who also pitched for Team USA in the WBC, into the Opening Day role. Mikolas was the Opening Day starter for the Cardinals in 2019.

The injury will likely elevate Jake Woodford into the rotation behind Mikolas, Jordan Montgomery, Jack Flaherty, and Steven Matz. Pitching depth for the Cardinals was a question heading into the season, especially with some of the recent injury history surrounding Flaherty and Wainwright.

Wainwright struggled in the final month of the 2022 season after being hit by a comebacker in an August 28 home outing against the Atlanta Braves. Over his last 13.2 innings of the season (three starts), he surrendered 14 runs. He also did not pitch in the Wild Card round when the Cardinals were swept at home by the eventual National League champion Philadelphia Phillies.

We will update this story as more information around Opening Day plans on the mound in St. Louis become available.