You never quite know what Spring Training will bring you and that is certainly the case for the Cardinals' 2011 Spring Training. Adam Wainwright's injury sure is disturbing; this is a severe shot to the Cardinals.
I am optimistic though that the Tommy John surgery will be a success and we will be seeing Wainwright in the 2012 season. Nick Punto is also out with a sports hernia and we should see him in 10-12 weeks. The upside to these injuries is that they happened early and early enough for the Cardinals to address the issues and fill the gaps. They have close to thirty days for other players to step up and take this opportunity for an unexpected season of greatness, and it is certainly better than if these injuries happened the last week of Spring Training or even more devastating - when the season has already started.
I have no doubt that the Cardinals will be able to find that fifth starter, however we all can agree that we will miss Wainwright this season. Stay tuned to find out who that fifth starter will be and who will serve as the backup infielder. I still have faith that the Cardinals will win the division and be a contender in the playoffs as long as the rest of the team remains healthy. I still like the offense, defense, and overall depth the team has.
I always enjoy and keep a close eye out for the youngsters on the field who are trying to make the team. The key to making the team is to stay healthy the first three weeks, but once that three week period has past, it is the last ten days that count, the intensity, competition, and pressure increases all the way to the wire.
It is great to be back on KMOX; I know the fans are equally excited. I must tip my cap to KTRS; they did a great job for the five years we broadcast on their station. I'm happy as ever to enter into my 40th year of broadcasting, and I look forward to working next to John Rooney every day, who enters his 6th year in the booth. And my pal Jim Jackson will be producing and engineering the broadcast for his 14th year in the Cardinals' broadcast booth.
My Panama-Canal trip was a trip that goes down in the record books. The fishing, golfing, Broadway-like entertainment and weather were dynamite. One thing I won't forget is the Panama Canal itself. I am flabbergasted at how the engineering and construction of the Panama Canal has kept the almost one-hundred year canal in service. I was also lucky enough to go on a private hard hat construction tour of the new canal being built directly next to the existing canal. The techniques that were used to build the original canal are being used for the most part in engineering and construction of the new canal. How about this - with all the technology, improvements in equipment and communication, the old canal took 10 years to build, the new one will take 8 years. What a trip and what a site the Panama Canal is!
Have a great St. Patrick's Day in a couple weeks and I look forward to seeing you opening day on March 31st at Busch Stadium and at Mike Shannon's.