Wainwright, who has finished No. 3 and No. 2 in Cy Young Award balloting the last two seasons, respectively, initially was diagnosed with a tear in the elbow in 2004. He has missed two turns with a strain in his elbow over his career, including the final start of last season.
"After his bullpen on Monday he did feel something in his right elbow," GM John Mozeliak told the Post-Dispatch. "I can say just based on the initial evaluation from our training staff, things do not look encouraging. But before [we] jump to any conclusions we'll just wait until the re-evaluation this afternoon."
Mozeliak did admit that, although it is speculation, ligament damage often results in Tommy John surgery.
After the evaluation, the club is expected to update the severity of the situation. This wouldn't be good news for any team, but you have to wonder if the Cardinals feel snakebit, what with the Albert Pujols contract saga and backup infielder Nick Punto being knocked out for three months.
Wainwright is entering the final guaranteed season of his contract in which he will make $6.5 million. He has two club options for 2012 and 2013 that were triggered by his top-five finish in the Cy Young Award balloting in 2010, but Wainwright cannot finish the year on the DL. It would still be an upset for St. Louis to not pick up the options, valued at $9 million and $12 million, respectively.
Is Tommy John surgery likely in the future? Eye on Baseball will stay on top of this story and update as more info comes in.