Adam Wainwright Injured: Worst Spring Training Injuries in Each Team's History
MLB Spring Training is an interesting dichotomy. On the one hand, teams want their players to have plenty of time to practice and warm-up, so that they will be ready for the season.
On the other hand, teams want to preserve the players, not giving them too much action, with the risk of injury always present.
The St. Louis Cardinals' experienced the reality of the latter when their star pitcher Adam Wainwright injured his throwing shoulder.
The Cardinals are not alone in this though. Each team has experienced plenty of devastating Spring Training injuries to their starting line-up.
Here are the worst injuries for each MLB team.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Matt Williams
Spring Trainings weren’t so great for Matt Williams. In 2000, he fouled a ball off his foot in the last spring training game, breaking it.
Then in 2002, he inexplicably broke his leg tripping over his own feet during practice.
Atlanta Braves: Chipper Jones
During Spring Training in 1994, Chipper Jones tore the ACL in his left knee. It was his first season in the big leagues.
He would heal and go on to have great seasons, obviously. However, the true effect would not be seen for years.
Fast forward to August 2010, when Jones tore the same ligament in the same knee. There was talk that Jones would retire, but he’ll be at the Braves spring training.
Baltimore Orioles: Jerry Hairston
The former Baltimore Orioles second baseman Jerry Hairston broke a finger in the first game of Spring Training 2004.
Orioles’ spring training isn’t that great for second basemen apparently. This year Brian Roberts had to leave spring training to get X-rays on a sore neck. Roberts seems optimistic, but his status is still being determined.
Boston Red Sox: Nomar Garciaparra
Nomar Garciaparra was the third of the Holy Trinity of Shortstops in the 90s (alongside New York Yankees' SS Derek Jeter and Seattle Mariners' SS Alex Rodriguez). Needless to say, the Red Sox would be pretty concerned if anything happened to him.
Their fears were realized during Spring Training in 2000 when Garciaparra suffered a knee injury. Then, the following spring training, Garciaparra suffered another injury, this time to his wrist.
The wrist injury had a negative impact on his batting, lowering his battery average significantly from previous years.
Chicago Cubs: Mark Prior
Chicago Cubs' Mark Prior missed the first couple months of the 2006 season after suffering a shoulder strain during Spring Training.
He would suffer through injury-plagued 2006 and 2007 seasons before his career with the Cubs came to an end.
Chicago White Sox: Jared Mitchell
Jared Mitchell, the Chicago White Sox 2009 first round draft pick was gearing up for his first season in the big leagues.
Unfortunately, before he could play in any regular-season games, Mitchell suffered an injury. During a Spring Training game, he tore a tendon in his left ankle when making a catch.
The tear required surgery and caused him to miss the entire season.
Cincinnati Reds: Ken Griffey Jr.
In 2000, the Cincinnati Reds traded for the highly-touted Ken Griffey Jr. Jr. would go on to have an injury plagued season.
Looking to put it behind him in 2001, Jr. then injured his hamstring during spring training. The injury would keep him out until June.
It was just one of the many injuries that had plagued and would plague Griffey throughout his career.
Cleveland Indians: Wayne Garland
In 1976, Wayne Garland became the most sought after free agent. The pitcher signed a ten year contract with the Cleveland Indians, making a couple million a year.
In his first Spring Training start as a member of the Tribe, Garland injured his shoulder. However, he didn’t tell anyone and played through it for most of the season.
Unfortunately, his numbers reflected his injury. Garland may have been trying to earn his contract, but he hurt the team and himself that season.
Colorado Rockies: Jeff Francis
In 2009, Jeff Francis missed the entire season after needing shoulder surgery. After recovering, Francis came back to pitch for the Rockies in spring training.
Unfortunately, he suffered another injury, this time a strain to the area. He would miss another couple of months recovering.
Detroit Tigers: Kenny Rogers
During Spring Training in 2007, the Detroit Tigers lost one of their best pitchers Kenny Rogers.
Rogers underwent surgery to removed a blood clot from his arm. He missed a little under three months to recover, returning to pitch in June of that year.
Florida Marlins: Hanley Ramirez Scare
In 2009, Hanley Ramirez gave the Florida Marlins organization and fans an injury scare during Spring Training.
He sat a few games rotator cuff tendonitis in his throwing arm. Ramirez ended up being fine, but no one wants to see their top young player sitting out a few games.
Houston Astros: Lance Berkman
Last Spring Training, the Houston Astros lost Lance Berkman to a knee injury.
Berkman underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair the knee. His recovery took longer than expected. Not something you want from someone you're paying $83 million over six years for.
Kansas City Royals: Zack Greinke
Zack Greinke left the Kansas City Royals Spring Training due to social anxiety disorder and depression. While it wasn't a physical injury, and Greinke didn't necessarily incur the disorder because of Spring Training.
However, for the purpose of this list, it counts because Greinke leaving Spring Training was a devastating blow to the organization.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Karl Spooner
Back when the Dodgers were in Brooklyn, they had a pitcher named Karl Spooner for a short period of time. Spring Training 1955, Spooner practiced without warming up properly.
The consequence was a bad arm injury, that would shorten Spooner's career.
Moral of the story children: make sure to warm-up properly before practicing.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Ervin Santana
The Los Angeles Angels lost their All-Star pitcher Ervin Santana last Spring Training with an elbow injury.
During Spring Training, an MRI found a sprained ligament in Santana's pitching elbow, causing him to miss the beginning of the season.
Milwaukee Brewers: Ray Fosse
During 1978 Milwaukee Brewers Spring Training, catcher Ray Fosse tripped in a hole while running along the first base line.
Fosse sustained several injuries to his leg from the fall. Repair required surgery to reconstruction to a knee ligament.
Let's hope that in 33 years, the Brewers' groundskeeping has improved.
Minnesota Twins: Joe Nathan
Minnesota Twins pitcher Joe Nathan missed the entire 2010 season with an elbow injury. The injury was discovered during Spring Training.
Nathan attempted to play through it, however after one outing decided to undergo the Tommy John surgery required to repair it.
New York Mets: Ryan Church
Church was diagnosed with a Grade 2 concussion following the collision. The first collision wasn't the biggest issue though. Church suffered another concussion in May 2008.
The combination of the two resulted in post-concussion symptoms that Church battled.
New York Yankees: Chien-Ming Wang
During New York Yankees Spring Training in 2007, ace pitcher Chien-Ming Wang sustained a hamstring injury.
The injury would keep Wang out for a month, disappointing for the Yankees.
However, Wang would bounce back and have one of the best years of his career.
Oakland Athletics: Mark Kotsay
During Oakland Athletics' Spring Training in 2007, Mark Kotsay had to have surgery to repair a back injury.
Kotsay missed the first two months of the season because of the surgery.
Philadelphia Phillies: Cliff Lee?
Coming into the Philadelphia Phillies 2011 Spring Training, Cliff Lee announced that he is nursing a mild side muscle strain under his throwing arm. He's consulting with doctors back in Philadelphia, but insists that he will be fine for Opening Day.
If it is in fact simply a mild strain, Lee will be fine. Still, this is not news that anyone within the Phillies organization or fanbase wants to hear about their top free agent pick-up.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Scott Olsen
Scott Olsen was a top prospect a few years back. He's run into many injury-plagued seasons that have hindered his development.
The Pittsburgh Pirates signed Olsen to a one-year deal, hoping that he will remain healthy and return to his original self.
There was a setback in that plan this week. Olsen was diagnosed with a hamstring injury and will miss a short period of time.
No big deal on the surface, at least it is not his throwing arm or shoulder. However, hopefully this is not an indication of what is to come this year.
San Diego Padres: Roberto Clemente Jr.
Roberto Clemente Jr. was this close to becoming a San Diego Padre. He would have been become a Padre if he hadn’t suffered a knee injury during his first spring training with them.
He ended up missing a significant period of time recovering and did not make the Padres.
San Francisco Giants: Willie Mays
During spring training in 1959, Willie Mays was trying to score. As the opposing catcher tried to catch the ball thrown by the shortstop, one of his bones cut open Mays’ leg.
The cut required a hospital visit and stitches.He would miss 2 weeks, but was healthy for opening day.
Until he barreled into another catcher and left with bruised shins.
Seattle Mariners: Cliff Lee
Cliff Lee is no stranger to nursing injuries in Spring Training. Last year at this time with the Seattle Mariners, Lee was nursing a strained abdomen.
However, he pulled through quickly, making his first start on April 30.
St. Louis Cardinals: Adam Wainwright
Adam Wainwright needs Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow, ending his season before it even began.
Wainwright finished second last season in the NL Cy Young voting, behind Roy Halladay, with 20 wins and an impressive 2.42 ERA.
Tampa Bay Rays: Matt Joyce
Matt Joyce began last season on the disabled-list for the Tampa Bay Rays. Joyce suffered an elbow strain.
After a rehab stint, Joyce made his start for the Rays in June.
Texas Rangers: Josh Hamilton
Last Spring Training, it looked bad for the Texas Rangers. In late February, Josh Hamilton was out with a shoulder injury.
Hamilton was back a couple weeks later, so all was well.
Toronto Blue Jays: Vernon Wells
In February 2009 at Toronto Blue Jays Spring Training, center fielder Vernon Wells had a recurrence of a hamstring injury that had nagged him at the end of the previous season.
Wells would miss a few weeks with the injury. Once he was back, he went on to have his worst season so far.
Washington Nationals: Paul Lo Duca
A month before reporting to Washington Nationals Spring Training, catcher Paul Lo Duca was getting into shape.
Unfortunately, he injured his knee in doing so. He was fine, although 2008 ended up being his final season.