- Associated Press - Thursday, February 24, 2011

Adam Wainwright’s season is over before it started.

The St. Louis Cardinals ace learned Thursday that he will need surgery to replace a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow, an injury that usually take at least a year to recover from.

“That’s a big guy to miss,” teammate Kyle Lohse said in Jupiter, Fla. “We still got to go out there and play. Nobody is going to feel sorry for us. We still have to go out there and do our jobs.”

The 29-year-old right-hander experienced soreness toward the end of last season and didn’t pitch in September. He threw to the Cardinals’ top hitter in batting practice Monday and was set to start his team’s spring training opener, then felt soreness the following day and was sent back to St. Louis on Wednesday for an examination.

Lewis Yocum then gave a second opinion to Wainwright, who won 19 games in 2009 and 20 last year to earn a second-place finish in NL Cy Young Award voting.

St. Louis will search for a fifth starter to go along with Chris Carpenter, Lohse, Jaime Garcia and Jake Westbrook.

“You’re losing an ace,” Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said. “It’s not something you can replace overnight. I would also say we have four quality pitchers. It’s not exactly like we have no bullets left.”

In Glendale, Ariz., pitcher Vicente Padilla is expected to return to the Dodgers’ spring training facility after having surgery on his right arm in Los Angeles.

Doctors freed up a nerve that was trapped by a muscle. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly says Padilla faces three to four weeks of rehabilitation.

Neither Mattingly nor Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti had a timetable for when Padilla, a projected reliever, would be ready to go to work.

Padilla made 16 starts last season and finished 6-5 with a 4.07 ERA. He also spent 68 games on the disabled list with elbow soreness and a neck injury.

In Lakeland, Fla., Miguel Cabrera arrived at spring training for the first time since he was arrested last week on suspicion of drunken driving. He promptly apologized as Major League Baseball said he will undergo treatment set up by doctors administered by management and its players’ union.

The 27-year-old was arrested Feb. 16 on suspicion of driving under the influence and resisting an officer without violence, both misdemeanors. He is set to be arraigned on March 16.

“I am very sorry for what I have done,” Cabrera said through a translator. “I have worked hard for a period of time and I hope everyone forgives me. All I ask for is forgiveness.”

Cabrera didn’t deny that he had an alcohol problem, but said he was willing to undergo treatment and the Tigers have been working with doctors to find a solution. He refused to say he is an alcoholic.

“I have it under control,” Cabrera said. “It was just a bad decision. I plan to continue with treatment. I made a mistake this time, and all I can do is continue treatment.”

In Surprise, Ariz., Texas Rangers pitcher Brandon Webb threw 60-65 pitches off flat ground during a 17-minute session. Texas manager Ron Washington said the “ball was coming out of his hand real good.”

The Rangers decided they wanted the right-hander to build up arm strength before getting back on a mound after his short bullpen session during the first workout a week ago. The former NL Cy Young Award winner hasn’t pitched in a major league game since the 2009 opener for Arizona because of shoulder surgery.

Washington says Webb’s arm strength “is certainly picking up” and that he could throw off a mound Sunday or Monday “if everything keeps progressing.” Webb is set to throw again Friday.

In Scottsdale, Ariz., the Colorado Rockies decided to be careful with right-hander Aaron Cook, who has missed three days of pitching and will miss his first scheduled start of spring training due to continued setbacks from tightness in his shoulder and a bout with a stomach ailment.

Cook entered spring training as Colorado’s No. 3 starter behind Ubaldo Jimenez and Jorge De La Rosa.

“He is getting stretched out to long distance and will eventually work his way back to the mound,” manager Jim Tracy said. “He had a couple of things he was battling early on and now he’s progressing.”

In Sarasota, Fla., Baltimore Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts missed a second straight day of spring training workouts because of a stiff neck.

Roberts woke up Wednesday morning with neck stiffness, but x-rays came back negative. The injury forced him to forgo practice on Wednesday, and he also skipped Thursday’s session.

He said he’s feeling better, though he will continue treatment. Roberts said he hopes to be ready to return Friday or Saturday. He said he’s “just trying to get it calmed down.”

A two-time All-Star, he was limited to 59 games last season because of injuries that included a herniated disk in his back and a concussion. He says his neck problem has nothing to do with the back injury.

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