ST. LOUIS -- Nothing is official yet, but barring something shocking, Adam Wainwright will be back with the Cardinals for 2012 and 2013.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on Friday morning and general manager John Mozeliak confirmed to MLB.com that the club fully intends to exercise Wainwright's contract option for those two seasons. Had Wainwright ended the year on the active roster, the option years would have automatically vested, but he has been on the disabled list for all of 2011 due to reconstructive elbow surgery.
However, Wainwright's rehabilitation has gone very well, and there is every expectation that he will be able to pitch for the club at or near the beginning of the 2012 season. Thus it makes sense for the club to bring back its injured ace, especially at the relatively reasonable prices of $9 million in 2012 and $12 million in '13.
Mozeliak told MLB.com on Friday that while the option will not be formally exercised for some time, he has spoken with Wainwright and his agent about the matter.
Wainwright hopes to pitch somewhere in 2011, even if only in a Minor League rehabilitation game, but manager Tony La Russa poured cold water on that notion on Friday. He said such a scenario was neither viable nor desirable.
"If he can get to November and be 100 percent ready to do all his exercises and start playing his long toss, that would be the best news you can find," La Russa said. "He doesn't have to do anything between now and then except set himself back, because you can't gain anything. It's too soon. He can't do enough to get ready. It's impossible."