ST. LOUIS -- Two days after Adam Wainwright hobbled off the field at Miller Park, an MRI confirmed that the Cardinals' ace suffered a torn left Achilles and will miss the rest of the 2015 season.
Wainwright, who was not at the ballpark on Monday, gathered multiple doctors' opinions earlier in the day before accepting the news that he won't pitch again this year. He's likely to undergo surgery on Thursday, and general manager John Mozeliak estimated that a rehab and recovery time of 9-12 months will follow.
The Cardinals are hopeful that Wainwright is on the shorter end of that range, as that would allow him to report to Spring Training ready to go next February.
"Unfortunate news, but not unexpected after what we saw on Saturday night," Mozeliak said. "This is a fairly common injury that happens to people. But the most important part of these types of injuries is what happens after surgery. Everybody I've talked to from the medical world has just said to be patient, don't try to push it and allow it to have the proper time to heal."
Wainwright suffered the season-ending injury as he broke from the batter's box after popping up to the first baseman. He took a step before feeling a sharp pain in the back of his ankle, thinking at the time that perhaps the catcher's mask or something else had hit him from behind.
He tried to take a few more steps before stopping and was then helped off the field by manager Mike Matheny and a team athletic trainer. Wainwright has been wearing a walking boot since.
"He's down," Mozeliak said. "He's a very honorable player, and he feels his job is to play under his contract [which runs through 2018 and pays Wainwright $19.5 million annually] and he wishes he could do that. He's down right now, and understandably. But I also feel like his presence on this club will be felt all year. He'll be around, and we wish him a speedy recovery."
Wainwright stuck around the club in 2011, a season he missed while recovering from Tommy John surgery. He was present for home games and made some appearances on the road, taking his cheerleading duties quite seriously. That season ended with the Cardinals winning a World Series championship.
The Cardinals will now try to weather another season without a pitcher who has had four 19-win seasons and entered the season with the lowest ERA (3.01) among all active pitchers with at least 1,500 innings pitched. He leads the Majors with 18 complete games since 2010 and has been a top three finisher in the National League Cy Young Award vote four out of the last six years.
"It's not good news today. But it's not the end of the world either," Mozeliak said. "These guys know they can go out and compete and they're looking forward to doing that. These guys understand they have a job to do. They lost a good friend and a good teammate, but guess what, they're playing tonight. It's part of the business. Injuries happen, and how you deal with them is often how you're defined."