Adam Wainwright: Tendon 'strong'

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright says his elbow injury is not serious. He could miss a start to allow the tendinitis to calm down.

"I'm OK, I really am," Wainwright said Friday. "I know that in this business when the word elbow gets thrown around people think the worst, but in actuality and in all honest to goodness truth, the only reason we did an MRI at all was to see how to treat it better, to see exactly which spot was dinged up."

General manager John Mozeliak said the team would have a better idea of its next move after Wainwright plays catch on Saturday. The right-hander was a 19-game winner last year and won 20 games in 2010.

"I think the best way to think about this now is it's a long season and certainly you don't want to put the season in jeopardy for one start," Mozeliak said. "I certainly know where we're leaning, but I'd like to see how he responds tomorrow."

Wainwright is tied for the National League lead in wins at 9-3 with a 2.15 ERA. He had an injection on Wednesday after an MRI exam pinpointed the trouble area in the back of his elbow.

"If I have to miss a start once every three years without going on the DL, I think that's an OK thing," Wainwright said. "I could pitch through this, there's no doubt, without seeing doctors, without getting a shot. That's not the smart play, let's get this treated, let's get this knocked out."

Wainwright, who missed the 2011 season after undergoing elbow reconstruction surgery, said the sole reason for the MRI was to aid in rehab efforts. Wainwright sought to calm fans, saying the elbow was fine and the tendon was "thick as an oak tree and strong as can be."

Both the team and pitcher kept open the possibility Wainwright could stay on his turn and pitch Monday against the Mets, but all agreed a little rest would be beneficial.

Wainwright was second in the NL with 100 1-3 innings. He said the elbow began bothering him the last two starts.