Luke Gregerson’s strained left hamstring will require him to begin the season on the disabled list and the Cardinals do not appear to be interested in bringing on free agent closer Greg Holland, who saved 41-games last year with Colorado. The club will also start the season without Adam Wainwright, who suffered a hamstring injury while going through conditioning workouts.
Manager Mike Matheny says Wainwright’s injury is not as severe as Gregerson’s, but they want to take it easy with the veteran since it is the start of the season.
Look for Dominic Leone and Tyler Lyons to get the first closing opportunities after Gregerson was the favorite after signing a two-year deal. Mike Matheny could also go with Bud Norris or Mike Mayers if there are early struggles.
As far as the starting rotation, it was an easy choice to call-up Jack Flaherty. He’ll become the team’s number five-starter with Michael Wacha moving up in Wainwright slot at number behind Opening Day starter Carlos Martinez. Luke Weaver, Miles Mikolas, and Flaherty round out the rotation, although the Cardinals could use four starters until Friday, April 13th at Cincinnati.
Just how long could Wainwright miss? It would be two weeks until a fifth starter is needed. I’d have to assume that some sort of throwing program would have to take place before Wainwright could throw his first pitch of the season. I think April 20 would be a very optimistic return date.