Punto had been dealing with discomfort in the area of his groin since the first day of camp, but he was still able to work out. The condition lingered, though, so Punto traveled to St. Louis see a specialist following the club's workout on Monday. According to general manager John Mozeliak, Punto will require surgery to repair the condition and will miss the bulk of the first month of the regular season, if not more.
"Obviously, you're looking at April and possibly May compromised," Mozeliak said on Tuesday afternoon. "In terms of how does it affect us, it gives someone else a new opportunity. But this certainly makes more sense than to try to manage it all year and fight that fight, because the outcome of this [surgery] is usually very positive. So speaking with the player and our medical staff, it seemed to make the most sense to go ahead and get this out of the way."
Punto dealt with discomfort in the general area of the injury from as early as April 2010, and spent time on the disabled list due to what was classified as a strained right groin. However, a late April MRI revealed no significant damage to the groin muscle. A Cardinals source said that Punto reported no discomfort over the winter, and he passed a physical exam before finalizing his contract.
With Punto out, Tyler Greene's place on St. Louis' Opening Day roster would appear to become more secure. An additional roster spot likely then opens up for a second backup infielder, with Daniel Descalso and Ramon Vazquez among the candidates to win that job.