ST. LOUIS -- Following a second setback during his attempt to return from a midsummer left oblique injury, Michael Wacha has pivoted his plans. He's no longer pushing to return this season. Instead, he's turning his attention to the next one."We're running out of runway to get him ready to
ST. LOUIS -- Following a second setback during his attempt to return from a midsummer left oblique injury, Michael Wacha has pivoted his plans. He's no longer pushing to return this season. Instead, he's turning his attention to the next one.
"We're running out of runway to get him ready to come back this year," general manager Michael Girsch said after the Cardinals moved Wacha to the 60-day disabled list on Monday. "Our expectation is that he's not going to pitch again this year."
That includes in the postseason, should the Cardinals qualify.
Just two weeks ago, as the organization scripted out its rotation plans for September, Wacha's name was included in the mix. But his rehab work hit its first snag on Aug. 28, when he pulled himself from a start after feeling soreness around his left oblique.
Wacha thought that was behind him as he traveled to Memphis for another scheduled rehab appearance on Saturday. Then, the discomfort returned. His outing was scrapped, and with the Minor League season set to end within the next week, Wacha doesn't have time to get healthy and fit in another start.
"It's one of those things that ... every cough, every sneeze, every time he laughs, he feels it," Girsch said. "And it just didn't make sense to push it. If you can feel it, it doesn't make sense to go."
Wacha's absence only heightens the importance that the Cardinals get meaningful innings from Adam Wainwright, who returned from the DL on Monday. It may also force the club to tap into its depth to find additional spot starters over the next three weeks.
Before exiting his June 20 outing with oblique tightness, Wacha was helping anchor the rotation with a 3.20 ERA and 1.233 WHIP in 15 starts. He will be under team control one more season before qualifying for free agency.
The Cardinals will slide Daniel Poncedeleon back into the rotation to start Wednesday's series finale against the Pirates, manager Mike Shildt confirmed. In doing so, the Cards can build in an extra day of rest for their other starters and create flexibility in how they align their starters for a four-game series against the Dodgers later this week.
The Dodgers, who entered the day one game back of the Cardinals for the National League's second Wild Card spot, announced they would be pushing Clayton Kershaw back to start Thursday's series opener at Busch Stadium.
While the Cardinals are hopeful that Yadier Molina (left hamstring tightness) will return to the field sometime during their series against the Dodgers, the club expects Jedd Gyorko (left groin strain) and Mike Mayers (right shoulder inflammation) to contribute even sooner.
Gyorko, who has been sidelined since Aug. 29, took swings in the batting cage on Monday. Mayers returned to St. Louis after throwing a scoreless inning for Memphis on Sunday. He's expected to be activated from the 10-day DL on Tuesday.
As for Molina, he is slowly beginning to resume baseball activities and mobility work. He hasn't played since Wednesday.
Molina will headline a group of Major League players that will travel to Japan in November to compete with Nippon Professional Baseball in the 2018 Japan All-Star Series.
• Early MLB roster set for All-Star Tour in Japan
Molina was among the first wave of confirmed participants, which also includes Eugenio Suarez, Christian Yelich, Ronald Acuna Jr., Rhys Hoskins and Carlos Santana. The MLB team, which will be managed by Don Mattingly, is scheduled to play seven games across Japan from Nov. 8-15.
The Cardinals' affiliates in Memphis and Peoria (Class A) will play in their respective championship series this week after advancing out of the first round of postseason play.
Giovanny Gallegos' first career hit capped a 10th-inning, walk-off victory for the Redbirds on Sunday. That sent Memphis back to the Pacific Coast League Championship Series for the second straight season. Peoria advanced to the Midwest League finals for the first time since 2002 after lefty Jake Dahlberg logged eight scoreless innings to lead the Chiefs past Cedar Rapids on Sunday.
Salsa on sale
Matt Carpenter's secret salsa is going public, as Schnucks announced that it will begin selling jars of Carpenter's "Bueno Mojo Salsa" at its St. Louis area grocery stores on Thursday. Carpenter said his father and brother have been spearheading the partnership with Schnucks, which created the product using the Carpenter family recipe.
Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.