Adam Wainwright says if St. Louis Cardinals fans expect him to make all of his scheduled starts for the remainder of this season, then they should be worried about Sunday's decision to place him on the 10-day disabled list.
Beyond that, the right-handed starter said he doesn't expect to miss any time beyond this Tuesday's start at home against the New York Mets.
"I pitched my bullpen session and it was fine, but just not where I wanted it to be and it wasn't trending the right direction," said Wainwright, 36. "So I'm just cooling my jets, calming it down, then back to work."
Wainwright experienced inflammation in his right elbow following his last start April 17 against the Chicago Cubs, a 5-3 victory. But he blames the swelling on his three-inning, 89-pitch loss to Arizona in the Cardinals' home opener 12 days earlier.
"There's a spot where I throw from which is my traditional arm slot, that if I throw from there it's going to make the same stuff happen. If it drop two inches, like I pitched the last two games, there's no problem," he said. "The problem is the first game, I came out and tried to heave the ball from that top slot and am sort of wearing the effects of it."
Wainwright pitched through similar issues last year, which contributed to a career-worst 5.11 ERA and offseason surgery to remove a flap of loose cartilage in the elbow.
"I could go out there and grind for the next 10 starts, but I don't want to do what I did last year," he said. "I think the fans deserve better and I don't think the team wants me out there throwing 82 mph fastballs. They want me healthy."
Wainwright is 1-2 with a 3.45 ERA in 15.2 innings this season.
The move to disable Wainwright is retroactive to April 20, meaning he'll be back when his spot in the rotation comes around against the Chicago White Sox on May 1. With Monday's day off, rookie Luke Weaver (2-1) will be available to start in Wainwright's place against the Mets on Tuesday, manager Mike Matheny said.
This is the sixth time in Wainwright's career that he's been on the disabled list, including a 10-day stint at the start of this season because of a strained hamstring. He also missed the 2011 season after Tommy John ligament replacement surgery in same elbow.
Matheny likewise described the decision to disable Wainwright as precautionary.
"He realizes he doesn't want it to get to the level it was before — what can he do proactively instead of being reactive and have it flare up?" Matheny said. "He's on a good program to get a little more rest and a little more treatment to get ahead of it."
To fill Wainwright's place on the roster, the Cardinals recalled reliever John Brebbia from Triple-A Memphis. Brebbia, who was optioned to Memphis on April 19, gained a save that night with 1 2/3 scoreless innings of relief and four strikeouts in the Redbirds 2-1 win at Omaha.
He appeared in two games in relief for St. Louis earlier this season following an April 8 recall from Memphis, working a pair of scoreless innings.