According to sources, St. Louis Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter had to leave practice early on Friday with a stiff neck. The Cardinals recently found out that stiffness is a bulging disk which means St. Louis will have to figure out a way to possibly start the season without Carpenter if he cannot recover.
Carpenter was scheduled to pitch Monday but was unable to do so. The former Cy Young award winner has yet to pitch this spring which could be troublesome for the defending World Series champions. The Cardinals were already taking it easy on the 37-year-old right-hander to not overwork his arm so he could be healthy and ready to go once the season began.
St. Louis will have to rest Carpenter and treat him accordingly. Unfortunately, any time he misses at this point in spring training will only hurt him once the season starts.
If Carpenter is not able to go the Cardinals are reportedly looking at using either Lance Lynn or Shelby Miller in the starting rotation. Lynn was projected to be a reliever for the Cardinals this season while the jury is still out on Miller.
This could be a huge blow for St. Louis as they cannot afford to lose someone as talented as Carpenter in their starting rotation. Adam Wainwright is expected to come back but it is unknown how well he will pitch after taking a year off after undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery.
Carpenter was a huge reason why the Cardinals won the World Series as he posted a 4-0 record in the postseason.