ST LOUIS -- Adam Wainwright will undergo another round of tests after an array of them failed to reveal the source of pain in his reconstructed right elbow, multiple Cardinals officials said Thursday. More telling of Wainwright's status than the scans was the transaction the club made prior to its series opener against the Phillies.
Forced to clear a spot on the 40-man roster to promote another catcher, after a hamstring strain landed Carson Kelly on the 10-day disabled list, the club did so by transferring Wainwright to the 60-day DL.
"When you're looking at the tests he went through, there was nothing that really stood out as a smoking gun," president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said. "We don't know what that is right now, other than he has discomfort."
So acute was that discomfort -- Mozeliak described it as "unusual" and of a "higher level" -- that Wainwright immediately returned to St. Louis following a wild and ineffective start over the weekend in San Diego. Doctors issued an MRI as well as a bone exam, suspicious that a chronic bone bruise in Wainwright's elbow may be the root of the pain. Mozeliak portrayed both as inconclusive.
Wainwright declined to discuss his injury on Thursday, while manager Mike Matheny was similarly tight-lipped.
"It doesn't sound like something that's going to heal quick," Matheny said. "But we don't have all the information. So I know he's shying away from comments. I told him I'd do the same until we knew more. But obviously there was a spot needed too, roster-wise."
That spot went to catcher Steven Baron, who replaced Kelly on the active roster a day after the rookie arrived at the ballpark with a twinge in his upper right hamstring. A career backup catcher in the Minors, Baron was Kelly's understudy at Triple-A Memphis before Kelly was summoned in light of Yadier Molina sustaining a debilitating groin injury earlier in the month.
Long considered Molina's heir apparent, Kelly's first prolonged chance in his place was truncated after eight games, over which the rookie collected two hits in 18 at-bats. He joins a group of eight Cardinals on the disabled list, five of whom were placed there in the past calendar week.
"Obviously a lot of roster turmoil right now, and that's never ideal," Mozeliak said. "I think we're trying to understand all these different injuries. Some are more about trying to be smart, so they don't roll into something bigger. Others are things that we're still learning about."
Club officials were uniform in placing Kelly's injury in the former category, and Wainwright's in the latter. The 36-year old is in the final year of his contract and has battled elbow injuries for much of the past two seasons.
"He still wants to contribute to this club," Mozeliak said. "He knows he might be part of that second-half push. <p. asked="" of="" possibility="" returning="" season="" the="" this="" to="" wager="" wainwright="">I've always been a huge advocate for Waino, and one of those people who will always tell you never bet against Waino. I would guess he'll pitch again." </p.>
More injury updates
• Neither Matheny nor Mozeliak offered much of an update on ace Carlos Martinez, who is currently on the disabled list with a lat strain. Though they made clear Martinez is unlikely to come off the DL when eligible on Saturday. John Gant is preparing to start that day in his place. Mozeliak said Martinez underwent an additional MRI on Thursday, the results of which were not shared.
"I have not had any feedback on what we've determined," Mozeliak said. "A lot of people are questioning why we thought he'd be ready this weekend and why he's not. A lot of times it's more preventative to make sure he's not rushing back."
• Mozeliak said results of an MRI on Luke Gregerson's sore right shoulder were also unavailable. Gregerson, who was placed on the DL this week, is also suffering from elbow soreness.
"Given how much he's thrown and the volume over the years, its not something that's unexpected," Mozeliak said. "There is always risk in signing a veteran reliever who has usage."
• Left-hander Tyler Lyons (sore back) will begin a rehab assignment this weekend.
• Right-hander Alex Reyes threw a bullpen at Busch Stadium on Thursday in preparation for his third rehab start, set for Saturday at Double-A Springfield. The club's No. 1 prospect per MLB Pipeline, Reyes is eligible to return from the DL on May 29, at which point he'll be more than 15 months removed from Tommy John surgery.
"I never had doubt in myself. I always told myself I'd be able to get back to where I was," Reyes said. "It was definitely tougher at the earlier stages. At the end of the day, I feel good."