(Reuters) - The high-flying St. Louis Cardinals face a challenging test after confirming on Monday that pitching ace Adam Wainwright will miss the rest of the season with a torn left Achilles.
Wainwright, who suffered the ankle injury running out of the batter’s box while hitting in Saturday’s win against the Milwaukee Brewers, will have surgery this week and miss nine to 12 months, the team said.
“It is a test,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. “The response and the answer is we knew that some tests were going to come. This is a big one that we’re getting early, but we’re going to see what we’re made of.”
The organization has not yet announced who will replace the three-time All-Star in the rotation and start against the Phillies on Thursday.
In the meantime, John Lackey, Lance Lynn, Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez remain in a rotation that, through 16 games, has posted a Major League Baseball-best 1.97 ERA for a club that leads the NL Central by two games at 12-5.
“To me, it’s an opportunity for somebody to stand up, step up and take the bull by the horns,” Matheny said about available options, including candidates down in the minor leagues.
The 32-year-old Wainwright, who has a career record of 121-67, had posted a 2-1 record this season with a 1.44 ERA.
Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue