Cubs

Cards' Wainwright injures elbow, surgery possible

Cards' Wainwright injures elbow, surgery possible

Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011
Posted 9:17 a.m. Updated 10:33 a.m.

By David Kaplan
CSNChicago.com

Stunning news out of St. Louis today as Adam Wainwright, perhaps the Cardinals best starting pitcher has apparently suffered a significant elbow injury and appears headed for season-ending Tommy John surgery.

Word of the injury spread rapidly through the Cubs clubhouse on Wednesday morning and the reaction was one of shock and concern for a fellow baseball player. I hope that its not true because I hate to see anyone deal with that. Lets hope for his sake that it is inflammation because it is a tough injury, said Cubs starter Ryan Dempster who experienced the same injury several years ago and returned to pitching a little more than a year after surgery.

Im not surprised that someone is dealing with that injury because every season it is the same story, said Kerry Wood. Wood of course, is very familiar with pitching injuries, having landed on the disabled several times and having Tommy John surgery in 1999. Adam better get ready for a really boring summer. It happens and I feel bad for him but as I said, he isnt the first and he certainly wont be the last. I wish him luck, Wood added.

New Cubs starter Matt Garza was saddened to hear about the injury because he likes to play and compete against the very best. I feel bad for him. Hes a fellow baseball player and we all are there for each other. You never want to hear about someone getting inured but its a part of the game.

Cardinals GM John Mozeliak in an interview on KFNS Radio in St. Louis said today, this injury is like getting kicked in the gut. However, there is no self-pity. We still have to field a team and be ready to go on Opening Day.

Wainwright, who went 20-11 with a 2.42 ERA last season, is a combined 50-22 over the past three seasons with an ERA under 3.00 and is considered one of the top pitchers in baseball. His loss is a huge blow to a Cardinals team that had hoped to build around Wainwright and fellow starter Chris Carpenter who has also had his share of injury problems over the years and is considered somewhat fragile.

Add in the Albert Pujols contract distraction and you have a Cardinals team that right now is wishing they could start spring training over. However, after 102 years and counting without a World Series title Cubs fans arent feeling much sympathy.

David Kaplan is the host of Chicago Tribune Live on Comcast SportsNet. Follow him on Twitter @thekapman.

Cubs fight back after Javy Baez ejection: 'We're not animals'

Cubs fight back after Javy Baez ejection: 'We're not animals'

If baseball wants stars that transcend the game, they need guys like Javy Baez on the field MORE, not less.

That whole debate and baseball's marketing campaign isn't the issue the Cubs took exception with, but it's still a fair point on a nationally-televised Saturday night game between the Cubs and Cardinals at Wrigley Field.

Baez was ejected from the game in the bottom of the fifth inning when he threw his bat and helmet in frustration at home plate umpire Will Little's call that the Cubs second baseman did NOT check his swing and, in fact, went around. 

Baez was initially upset that Little made the call himself instead of deferring to first base umpire Ted Barrett for a better view. But as things escalated, Baez threw his bat and helmet and was promptly thrown out of the game by Little.

"I don't think I said anything to disrespect anything or anyone," Baez said after the Cubs' 6-3 loss. "It was a pretty close call. I only asked for him to check the umpire at first and he didn't say anything.

"I threw my helmet and he just threw me out from there. I mean, no reason. I guess for my helmet, but that doesn't have anything to do with him."

Baez and the Cubs would've rather Little check with the umpire who had a better view down the line, but that wasn't even the main point of contention. It was how quickly Little escalated to ejection.

"We're all human," Baez said. "One way or the other, it was gonna be the wrong [call] for one of the teams.

"My message? We're not animals. Sometimes we ask where was a pitch or if it was a strike and it's not always offending them. I think we can talk things out. But I don't think there was anything there to be ejected."

Upon seeing his second baseman and cleanup hitter ejected in the middle of a 1-0 game against a division rival, Joe Maddon immediately got fired up and in Little's face in a hurry.

Maddon was later ejected, as well, and admitted after the game he was never going to leave the field unless he was tossed for protecting his guy.

"He had no reason to kick him out," Maddon said. "He didn't say anything to him. I mean, I watched the video. If you throw stuff, that's a fine. That's fineable. Fine him. That's what I said — fine him — but you cannot kick him out right there.

"He did nothing to be kicked out of that game. He did throw his stuff, whatever, but he did not say anything derogatory towards the umpire.

"...You don't kick Javy out. If he gets in your face and is obnoxious or belligerent or whatever, but he did not. He turned his back to him. That needs to be addressed, on both ends."

Maddon and the Cubs really want Major League Baseball to get involved in this situation. 

There are many other layers to the issue, including veteran Ben Zobrist having to come into the game as Baez's replacement. Maddon was not keen on using the 37-year-old Zobrist for 1.5 games during Saturday's doubleheader and now feels like he has to rest the veteran Sunday to lessen the wear and tear of a difficult stretch for the team.

There's also the matter of the groundball basehit in the eighth inning that tied the game — a seeing-eye single that just got past Zobrist as he dove to his left. It tied the game at 3 and the Cardinals took the lead for good the following inning.

Does Baez make that same play if he were out there instead of Zobrist? It's certainly possible.

"The dynamic of our defense was lessened by [the ejection]," Maddon said. "Again, listen, if it's deserved, I'm good. It was not. They don't need me out there, we need Javy out there.

"And it surprised me. I stand by what I'm saying. It was inappropriate. MLB needs to say something to us that it was inappropriate because it was and it could've led to the loss of that game."

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 37th homer in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 37th homer in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

Sosa's 37th homer of the 1998 season was a big one, an opposite field blast off the front row of fans in right field and into the basket at Wrigley Field.

The eighth-inning 3-run shot gave the Cubs some insurance in a game they ultimately won 9-5 and the Wrigley faithful responded by throwing a bunch of trash on the field.

Earlier in the contest, Sosa tied the game with an RBI single in the fifth inning. He finished with 4 RBI, giving him 93 on the season with more than 2 months left to play.

Fun fact: Vladimir Guerrero was the Expos' No. 3 hitter for this game an dhe also hit a homer (his 20th). Now, Guerrero's son is nearing his MLB debut as a top prospect in the Toronto Blue Jays system.

Fun fact No. 2: Mark Grudzielanek - who later played for the Cubs in 2003-04 - was Montreal's No. 5 hitter for the game at Wrigley. He was traded 10 days later from the Expos to the Los Angeles Dodgers for another fellow Cub - Ted Lilly.