Cardinals right-hander Michael Wacha hasn't made a start since June 17 thanks to an increasingly puzzling shoulder malady. It's being termed a "stress reaction" to the scapula bone, but it's an injury that, absent rest and treatment, carries the risk of progressing into other, more serious conditions. Here's more from the excellent Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
The immediate plan for Wacha is two weeks of rest and a re-evaluation at the end of that stretch that will include another series of scans of his rotator cuff and scapula.
[GM John] Mozeliak, speaking on behalf of the organization when it comes to medical details, said that doctors saw a positive in that “the healing has begun.” Rest and urging blood flow to the area will continue to promote recovery. Mozeliak struck one note of caution: “We don't know when he'll be back.”
So there's no clear time-table for when Wacha will be able to return to the Cardinals' rotation, and that's worrisome not only because fellow starters Jaime Garcia and Joe Kelly are on the DL but also because Wacha has been oustanding this season. Through 15 starts, the 22-year-old has pitched to a 2.79 ERA and 3.19 K/BB ratio. This comes on the heels of a similarly impressive rookie campaign in 2013 and his being named NLCS MVP.
If the Cardinals are going to surmount the Brewers' steady and long-lasting lead in the NL Central, then they'll likely need a healthy and vintage Wacha in the second half.