Wainwright to have Tommy John surgery

Adam Wainwright will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow, St. Louis Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak confirmed Thursday.

The Cardinals will not look outside for help to replace the ace initially, Mozeliak said. But he added, "We have to be open-minded.

"It’s not a real surprise to us but certainly a disappointment," Mozeliak said. "As we look to the future now we certainly believe we still have a strong starting rotation. Now we’re going to have to look to try to fill it in terms of a fifth spot."

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said there are six or seven internal candidates for Wainwright’s spot.

The rotation for now appears to be Chris Carpenter, Kyle Lohse, Jaime Garcia and Jake Westbrook. There are few pitchers available on the free-agent market, with Kevin Millwood probably the best known.

The 29-year-old Wainwright finished second in the NL Cy Young vote last season after winning 20 games for St. Louis

Wainwright began feeling soreness Monday. Trainers examined him Tuesday and Wainwright flew back to St. Louis to meet with team doctors on Wednesday.

The 6-foot-7 Wainwright went 20-11 with a 2.42 ERA last season, finishing behind Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay in Cy Young balloting while making his first All-Star team. His 2.93 ERA since 2007 trails only Halladay, and no NL pitcher threw more than Wainwright’s 463 1-3 innings during the past two seasons.

La Russa said he doesn’t believe the injury is related to the soreness Wainwright felt toward the end of last season, when he didn’t pitch in September. He said it’s more likely related to minor issues Wainwright had in 1998 and 2004.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.