Just days after returning to Spring Training camp from the World Baseball Classic, veteran Adam Wainwright has suffered an injury. The St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright is dealing with a groin strain and will begin the season on the IL, manager Oli Marmol said on Thursday morning in Jupiter, as reported by John Denton.

Wainwright was the obvious choice to start on Opening Day next week, but that won’t happen now. While it’s unknown how the injury happened, this is definitely concerning for the Cardinals. The veteran is a key piece of this rotation and showed that he can still pitch at a high level for Team USA, tossing eight innings and allowing just two earned runs across two starts. He shut down a potent Cuba lineup in the semifinals as well.

The 41-year-old is heading into his first year without battery mate Yadier Molina, who retired at the end of 2022. Last season, Wainwright still proved to be effective, going 11-12 with a 3.71 ERA in 32 starts. He doesn’t exactly throw hard anymore, but Wainright can still change speeds and get outs. This was definitely going to be his final time to pitch on Opening Day.

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Other options to get the ball in the season opener include Miles Mikolas, Jack Flaherty, or Jordan Montgomery. It will be interesting to see who the Cardinals decide to choose. One can only hope this Wainwright injury doesn’t linger because they do need him healthy. After all, he is their most experienced arm.

St. Louis begins their campaign on Thursday, March 30th against the Toronto Blue Jays.