"We know he’s going to miss one start, and we don’t want to push the second start, but the second start is not out of the question," Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said.
Wainwright exited during the fifth inning of Sunday's 5-1 loss to the Cubs at Wrigley Field after sliding for a double in the top half of the frame. Following the game, the veteran said that he would return to St. Louis to be evaluated.
"Just out of the box, third step probably," Wainwright said Sunday night. "I knew that I needed to be on second there. It's a stand-up double, usually. Rounding the bag, I just timed it right that I didn't have to push it too hard."
The 37-year-old has gone 5-6 with a 4.46 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in 13 starts this season after just eight outings in 2018 due to right elbow inflammation. He also sustained a left hamstring strain last March.
The main options to start in his place include names already on the 25-man roster: Righties Daniel Ponce de Leon (1.80 ERA) and Ryan Helsley (2.70), the latter of whom the Cardinals recalled as the corresponding move for Wainwright. There's also right-hander Alex Reyes and southpaw Genesis Cabrera, who has made two spot starts.
Part of the decision will be made depending on how the series in Miami goes leading up to Wainwright's spot in the rotation Friday in New York.
“Obviously, I think the next start we’ll have to just absorb," president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said. "And then in terms of how we look at it long-term, it’ll all depend really on maybe how Alex pitches his next game at Memphis and see if that’s a viable option.”
On Saturday, Reyes allowed four runs (three earned) in four-plus innings with four walks and 10 strikeouts for Triple-A Memphis.
"Lot of positives," Shildt said of the game report and feedback. "Gets back to the word we use a lot with our team and our individuals, and just being more 'consistent' with the strike zone. But all his pitches were working, velocity was there. ... Just being a little more efficient with his pitch count, being able to get quicker outs and controlling counts a little more consistently."
• According to MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo, the Cardinals gave 12th-round Draft pick Patrick Romeri $200,000 ($75K counts against bonus pool) to sign. The IMG Academy (Fla.) outfielder had been committed to Villanova University, but will opt to begin his pro career in the Cardinals' organization.
• Right-hander Merandy Gonzalez, whom the Cardinals designated for assignment Saturday, cleared waivers and will be outrighted off the 40-man roster. He will remain with Double-A Springfield.