Cards' Wainwright injures elbow, surgery possible

Cards' Wainwright injures elbow, surgery possible

Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011
Posted 9:17 a.m. Updated 10:33 a.m.

By David Kaplan
CSNChicago.com

Stunning news out of St. Louis today as Adam Wainwright, perhaps the Cardinals best starting pitcher has apparently suffered a significant elbow injury and appears headed for season-ending Tommy John surgery.

Word of the injury spread rapidly through the Cubs clubhouse on Wednesday morning and the reaction was one of shock and concern for a fellow baseball player. I hope that its not true because I hate to see anyone deal with that. Lets hope for his sake that it is inflammation because it is a tough injury, said Cubs starter Ryan Dempster who experienced the same injury several years ago and returned to pitching a little more than a year after surgery.

Im not surprised that someone is dealing with that injury because every season it is the same story, said Kerry Wood. Wood of course, is very familiar with pitching injuries, having landed on the disabled several times and having Tommy John surgery in 1999. Adam better get ready for a really boring summer. It happens and I feel bad for him but as I said, he isnt the first and he certainly wont be the last. I wish him luck, Wood added.

New Cubs starter Matt Garza was saddened to hear about the injury because he likes to play and compete against the very best. I feel bad for him. Hes a fellow baseball player and we all are there for each other. You never want to hear about someone getting inured but its a part of the game.

Cardinals GM John Mozeliak in an interview on KFNS Radio in St. Louis said today, this injury is like getting kicked in the gut. However, there is no self-pity. We still have to field a team and be ready to go on Opening Day.

Wainwright, who went 20-11 with a 2.42 ERA last season, is a combined 50-22 over the past three seasons with an ERA under 3.00 and is considered one of the top pitchers in baseball. His loss is a huge blow to a Cardinals team that had hoped to build around Wainwright and fellow starter Chris Carpenter who has also had his share of injury problems over the years and is considered somewhat fragile.

Add in the Albert Pujols contract distraction and you have a Cardinals team that right now is wishing they could start spring training over. However, after 102 years and counting without a World Series title Cubs fans arent feeling much sympathy.

David Kaplan is the host of Chicago Tribune Live on Comcast SportsNet. Follow him on Twitter @thekapman.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon misses his chance to guest-star in ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’

Cubs manager Joe Maddon misses his chance to guest-star in ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’

MESA, Ariz. – This is a big bowl of wrong: Cubs manager Joe Maddon might have missed his only window to make the "Curb Your Enthusiasm" cameo appearance Jeff Garlin promised. 

Garlin – a Second City alumnus and one of several celebrity fans within the team's orbit – had offered Maddon a role whenever Larry David brought the band back together for the loosely scripted HBO comedy.

But last week's Cactus League media event at the Arizona Biltmore conflicted with filming in Southern California, where "Curb Your Enthusiasm" is working on a ninth season after a five-year hiatus.

"There was one matchup, and I couldn't get there," Maddon said before Sunday's World Series rematch against the Cleveland Indians at Sloan Park. "I just couldn't do it. It'll happen."

During an all-over-the-place session with reporters that lasted 20-plus minutes, Maddon declined to make any Oscar predictions, saying he's into Netflix and Hulu now and doesn't really go to the movies anymore.

Maddon also hasn't watched much – or any – of the World Series highlights or documentaries. When it came to the handling Aroldis Chapman part, there were some boos inside Chicago's Civic Opera House during the premiere of Major League Baseball's "The 2016 World Series."

But Maddon said he basically skipped that type of content after being Mike Scioscia's bench coach for the 2002 Anaheim Angels and managing the Tampa Bay Rays to the 2008 World Series.

"You get busy and I don't know," Maddon said. "I need to start reading more and watching Netflix less."

Didn't you say that last spring?

"I did," Maddon said.

Maddon had been addicted to cable news during last year's polarizing presidential campaign: "But, damn, it's gotten really annoying, so I stopped watching all that stuff. It's just not good for your brain. It's really not. There's nothing to be gained."

When Maddon starts rolling, it's not hard to picture him in a scene with David and J.B. Smoove. Shaquille O'Neal, John McEnroe and Bill Buckner are among the sports figures with "Curb Your Enthusiasm" credits.

"That was the only day, so I don't know how we're going to figure this out," Maddon said. "First, they had one day set up, and that was going to be good. And then they had to change it to this other day, which was not good. So we'll have to (come up with something else), even if it's maybe a picture on the wall or a phone call."

Jason Heyward surprised Cubs fans didn’t boo Rajai Davis more

Jason Heyward surprised Cubs fans didn’t boo Rajai Davis more

MESA, Ariz. – The Cactus League crowds are different than the ones packed into Wrigley Field. It was only a meaningless split-squad game on a Saturday afternoon in the Arizona sunshine. Finally winning the World Series must have somewhat dulled the edge.

But Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward still thought Rajai Davis would hear it from the sellout crowd of 14,929 at Sloan Park, the what-could-have-been anxiety bubbling up when seeing the Oakland A's leadoff guy who nearly changed the course of baseball history.

"I was surprised he didn't get booed more, but that's just how our fans are," Heyward said. "They're fun like that. They have fun with the game. They acknowledge it. That's pretty cool for Cubs fans to boo you. If anybody boos you from last year, that's kind of an honor, I would say. To be on that side of things, it means you did something great."

As Alfonso Soriano liked to say, they don't boo nobodies. With one big swing, Davis almost unleashed a miserable winter for the Cubs and ended the Cleveland Indians' 68-year drought.

Manager Joe Maddon kept pushing closer Aroldis Chapman, who fired 97 pitches in Games 5, 6, and 7 combined. Davis timed seven straight fastballs in the eighth inning – the last one at 97.1 mph – and drove a Game 7-tying two-run homer just inside the foul pole and onto the left-field patio. In a now-famous rain-delay speech, Heyward gathered his teammates in a Progressive Field weight room as the Cubs regained their composure.

"They booed him, but only the first at-bat," Heyward said. "The second at-bat and the third, I was like: ‘Eh, they kind of just let him off the hook.' They let him be."

The fans who stuck around until the end got to hear "Go Cubs Go" after a 4-3 win. Davis parlayed that big moment into a one-year, $6 million contract with the A's. The Cubs will see the Indians again on Sunday afternoon in Mesa.

"As players, we're all onto the season and enjoying this ride and a new journey," said Heyward, who went 0-for-3 with an RBI as he worked on his new swing. "All the teams that we played in the playoffs are obviously out here in spring training, so it's just really fun and it's good for the makeup of your team when you compete that way.

"You're thrown right back into the fire when you talk about the competition and remembering things that happened in the postseason. But we don't dwell on it too much."