CINCINNATI -- Cardinals rotation ace Adam Wainwright has often been a thorn in the Reds' side, including as recently as April 19 when he outdueled Mike Leake's 86-pitch complete-game performance for a 2-1 victory. However, Reds manager Bryan Price took no joy from the past weekend's developments.
Wainwright will miss the rest of the season, out for 9-12 months after tearing his left Achilles while hitting on Saturday. First-place St. Louis is the defending National League Central champion and a team that has repeatedly beaten the Reds in head-to-head play, but this could potentially change the fortunes of the division.
"I don't know, it depends on the performance of whoever they put into that spot," Price said. "That's losing a lot of innings, a lot of really good performance and leadership. I'm sure he will have a strong voice there. They lost him in 2011, and they won the World Series. It's a big loss for them, certainly, from a performance standpoint, and it stinks to see a player of his caliber and character potentially miss a season with an injury."
The Wainwright injury has sparked new debate lately about whether the designated hitter rule the American League has had for 42 seasons should finally come to the NL.
Price felt that injuries like Wainwright's are not part of the debate.
"I think what will probably open up the debate more strongly will be whatever type of offense, or lack thereof, permeates the National League," Price said. "The offense has been trending downward somewhat over the last few years. I'm sure that the designated hitter was used back in 1973 to create more offense, more scoring and more excitement in that part of the game.
"I don't think an injury as a hitter to a starting pitcher or a high-profile starting pitcher is any reason that pitchers can no longer hit in the National League. I like the difference in leagues. I like the different style of play. I think it's getting homogeneous if we do everything the same way in both leagues."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.