St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Chris Carpenter has been sidelined much of the past week due to discomfort in his neck. Carpenter said the issue is both muscle and nerve related, and the Cardinals had their ace undergo testing this week in order to better determine what’s ailing him. Results are expected to be announced this weekend, but until a diagnosis is procured, Carpenter will not be making his spring debut.
Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported yesterday that Carpenter began experiencing the discomfort after he threw a 30-pitch, two-inning live batting practice to his Cardinal teammates on March 3. Carpenter had a Wednesday side session and potential Friday bullpen lined up this week based on how his body was responding, but both were canceled.
Carpenter did say he was experiencing less discomfort Thursday and Friday, but he and the Cardinals have agreed to not proceed with his throwing regiment until they know exactly what is ailing him. Carpenter has dealt with nerve-related problems in the past, and Strauss noted that the right-hander has pitched through pain during much of his tenure in St. Louis.
However, when asked by reporters if his extended time off suggests an elevated level of pain, Carpenter said “that would be fair”.
While Cardinals fans may fear the worst after experiencing the Adam Wainwright debacle last spring, the club itself is not yet panicking. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said yesterday that, with the time remaining this spring, they can afford to take things slow with Carpenter.
Still, if the diagnosis is worse than anticipated and Carpenter is forced to miss another week of action, most around the team believe the situation will take on a greater urgency. The club has a contingency plan in place at this time, as top prospect Shelby Miller has taken Carpenter’s spot in the spring rotation. Miller is expected to make his second start of the spring Monday when he again fills in for the ailing Carpenter.
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