St. Louis Cardinals fans surely became concerned earlier this month when right-handed starting pitcher Chris Carpenter was shut down due to what was called neck discomfort. Carpenter’s issues lingered and the Cardinals ace was sent back to St. Louis to be further examined by specialists. Jennifer Langosch of MLB.com reported yesterday that Carpenter is dealing with another nerve issue in his neck, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Joe Strauss added that the veteran is likely two-plus months away from returning.
When the Cardinals sent Carpenter back to St. Louis for further examinations, they made it clear that the right-hander would not be starting Opening Day as the club originally hoped. Still, it wasn’t clear how much time Carpenter would miss. Some held out hope that it would only be the first few weeks of the regular season.
Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak confirmed yesterday that Carpenter’s lingering ailment is again being caused by nerve issues. Mozeliak didn’t offer a timeframe for Carpenter’s return, but because the veteran has dealt with and recovered from such an injury before, Strauss offered an estimate of two-plus months.
Now that it appears the Cardinals will be without their ace for a significant portion of the season, the question becomes how they replace Carpenter in their rotation. Initially, before the extent of Carpenter’s injury was revealed, the Cardinals said Lance Lynn would slide into the starting rotation.
However, with what is expected to be an extended trip to the disabled list, questions of St. Louis’s interest in free agent starter Roy Oswalt figure to increase. It’s rumored that Oswalt won’t sign until June and that the Cardinals are comfortable with in-house options, but news of Carpenter’s injury could change all of that in a hurry.
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