ST. LOUIS -- Nothing is official yet, but barring something shocking, Adam Wainwright will be back with the Cardinals for 2012 and 2013.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on Friday morning and general manager John Mozeliak confirmed to MLB.com that the club fully intends to exercise Wainwright's contract option for those two seasons. Had Wainwright ended the year on the active roster, the option years would have automatically vested, but he has been on the disabled list for all of 2011 due to reconstructive elbow surgery.
However, Wainwright's rehabilitation has gone very well, and there is every expectation that he will be able to pitch for the club at or near the beginning of the 2012 season. Thus it makes sense for the club to bring back its injured ace, especially at the relatively reasonable prices of $9 million in 2012 and $12 million in '13.
Mozeliak told MLB.com on Friday that while the option will not be formally exercised for some time, he has spoken with Wainwright and his agent about the matter.
Wainwright hopes to pitch somewhere in 2011, even if only in a Minor League rehabilitation game, but manager Tony La Russa poured cold water on that notion on Friday. He said such a scenario was neither viable nor desirable.
"If he can get to November and be 100 percent ready to do all his exercises and start playing his long toss, that would be the best news you can find," La Russa said. "He doesn't have to do anything between now and then except set himself back, because you can't gain anything. It's too soon. He can't do enough to get ready. It's impossible."
Duncan's wife has surgery for brain tumor
ST. LOUIS -- At pitching coach Dave Duncan's request, the Cardinals disclosed further details about the medical condition of Duncan's wife, Jeanine, on Friday. Mrs. Duncan underwent the removal of a brain tumor on Sunday.
According to the club's news release, Jeanine Duncan's "spirits remain very high," and Dave Duncan "indicated that Jeanine has had no loss of memory nor experienced any difficulty communicating."
It remains unclear when or whether Duncan will resume his duties with the club, but manager Tony La Russa strongly emphasized that there is no rush.
"I don't even think about it," La Russa said. "I just think he's going to be there and do whatever he can to help her. If his help's not necessary on a three- or four-hour basis, then he'll be here doing his job. But I've talked to him about the rotation, and he can watch on TV and talk about what he sees. It's not like having him here, but we know what the priorities are."
The Cardinals typically add one or more coaches from the Minor Leagues to help out with a variety of duties once the Minor League season ends and rosters expand. La Russa said that one coach who may be likely to be added this year is Triple-A pitching coach Blaise Ilsley, but noted that for the time being, the club is willing to lean on bullpen coach Derek Lilliquist and bullpen catcher Jeff Murphy.
Cards honor McGee with bobblehead night
ST. LOUIS -- The man who is at least arguably the most popular Cardinals player of the past 30 years made a special appearance at Busch Stadium on Friday. It was Willie McGee bobblehead night, and the beloved former Redbirds outfielder showed up for his night.
McGee was joined on the field by former teammates Ozzie Smith and Vince Coleman, and he threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Before that, he took a ride around the warning track in a pickup truck, soaking in the adulation from a crowd filled with plenty of people wearing his No. 51 on their backs.
Now 52 years old, McGee played for the Cardinals from 1982-90 and again from 1996-99. He was a four-time All-Star, a three-time Gold Glover and the 1985 National League Most Valuable Player. He played for manager Tony La Russa in Oakland in 1990 and again during his second stint with St. Louis.
"He's exactly what the fans think he is," La Russa said. "He's a very, very classy guy, very humble guy, outstanding."
The Cardinals wore 1985 throwback uniforms, with pullover jerseys and extra navy piping, to honor the occasion.
Matt Adams, Ryan Jackson and Shelby Miller of the Springfield Cardinals were all named to the Texas League's postseason All-Atar team on Friday. Adams is the league's Player of the Year.
Manager Tony La Russa again declined on Friday to disclose his starting rotation for next week's series in Milwaukee.
A reminder to fans: Saturday's game, initially slated to be a night game, will instead start at 3:10 p.m. CT and will appear on FOX.
Allen Craig made his fourth start in center field on Friday.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.