Cards relieved Wainwright's injury not serious

Ace will take it easy while abdomen heals, should make Opening Day

Cards relieved Wainwright's injury not serious

JUPITER, Fla. -- Adam Wainwright's visit to a St. Louis-area specialist Thursday brought some relief to Cardinals camp, as they learned soon after that the staff ace is dealing with an abdominal strain that should not keep him from being ready for the season opener on April 5.

General manager John Mozeliak called the diagnosis "good news," adding that Wainwright is cleared to continue throwing while he allows the abdominal area to heal. Nevertheless, the Cardinals will have Wainwright "take it slow for about four or five days" with an eye on then having him at full strength in a couple of weeks.

"Based on all the different studies and what the doctor saw, he feels that this is probably the best news we could have gotten," Mozeliak said. "My understanding is he's still going to be able to throw, so it shouldn't change the start of the season outlook at this point. But time will tell."

Wainwright shared an update on his Twitter account, saying, "Good news Cardinal fans. The doc says I'll still be able to do all my dugout dances in a couple weeks! Thanks for all the prayers!"

Wainwright, who will return to Cardinals camp Friday, will still wait some time before returning to the mound.

"I think we can take the foot off the gas a little bit on the bullpen session," Mozeliak said. "But we'll get with [manager] Mike Matheny and [pitching coach] Derek Lilliquist and discuss what that strategy looks like in conjunction with the medical staff."

Ideally, the Cardinals hope to get Wainwright on a schedule where he could make four Grapefruit League starts. Mozeliak acknowledged that three could also potentially be enough.

Outlook: Wainwright, SP, STL

The visit with Dr. Michael Brunt ruled out a sports hernia or more serious injury for Wainwright, who started feeling discomfort near his beltline after a Feb. 16 incident in the weight room. Wainwright said he made an awkward motion replacing a 45-pound weight that morning. Though he continued to throw in the days after the incident, the right-hander still felt some pain when running and lunging.

The Cardinals did not believe the injury to be serious, but chose to send Wainwright back to St. Louis in order to get a firm diagnosis.

"I wasn't overly concerned earlier, but obviously when you're sending somebody to see a specialist, it's something you have to worry about," Mozeliak said. "In the end, I feel good about what we know. And I know Adam is relieved."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.