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Cardinals Opening Day 2012: What Happened To Adam Wainwright?

It's a fact of our life, this year, unrelated to the fact that it happened on the St. Louis Cardinals' Opening Day at Busch Stadium—Adam Wainwright is just now recovering from an elbow surgery that cost him all of the 2011 season, and we're going to be terrified of every bad outing he has until he proves he's totally healthy. Bad outing number one: Unfortunately, the eight runs he gave up in the Cardinals vs. Cubs game on Friday.

If it's any consolation, his velocity looked—well, not quite as good, yet, as it did in 2009 and 2010, but mostly unchanged from where it was in 2007 and 2008, his first year's in the bullpen. His sinker sat around 90, his slider-slash-cutter sat at 86, and his curveball at 74. He gave up the first big home run on a 90 mph two-seamer to Ian Stewart, and the grand slam to Bryan LaHair on a 91 mph sinker in the third, which came after a few of them opened the frame down at 88.

It's hard to say he's all the way back from the evidence so far, but as poorly as he pitched Friday it didn't look like the ominous beginnings of a return to the disabled list so much as evidence that his arm strength is not yet all the way back. So for now, just keep worrying like usual, is what I'm saying.