Author’s Note:What started as a lump in my throat eventually worked its way down into my stomach as I read the ESPN.com headline. Something to the effect of, “Wainwright injures pitching elbow.” “This can’t be good,” I thought.
Just a few weeks earlier, I had interviewed the Cardinals ace for our April cover story, and, as soon as I read the news, I knew we were going to have to make some adjustments to the magazine, which was already mid-production. But that internal knot wasn’t just the result of professional nerves; it was also the product of personal compassion.
The human side of me felt awful for Wainwright, who is a solid, sold-out man of God. The last thing I wanted was for him to get hurt. I wanted him to keep pitching well and thriving on the mound, using his gifts to bring glory to the Lord, which is something he loves to do.
After interviewing Wainwright over the phone while he and his family were driving to Florida for spring training, I’d written a story focusing on the lofty expectations he was shouldering this season and how his faith was helping him stay focused. Thus, when I learned that Wainwright would be having season-ending Tommy John surgery, I had to shake my head at the irony. All those expectations were going to go unmet—at least for now.
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