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Cardinals look for bounceback year

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ST. LOUIS — Albert Pujols is six months away from free agency and 20-game winner Adam Wainwright is out for the year. It's not yet opening day and already the St. Louis Cardinals are scrambling.

Pujols didn't get his landmark contract by the start of spring training, so talks are off until after the season. Whenever the three-time NL MVP slumps, there will be whispers that he's distracted.

Wainwright was one of the best pitchers in the majors the last two seasons, totaling 39 wins. Just like Pujols, he appears irreplaceable.

It's former setup man Kyle McClellan's job to lessen the blow. McClellan inherits Wainwright's spot in the rotation and has been nearly spotless this spring with an 0.78 ERA in five starts.