It was revealed last week St. Louis Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter has a bulging disk in his neck. The pitcher returned to St. Louis Tuesday to undergo more testing after he revealed having pain and stiffness in his neck on Monday.
Carpenter has already missed significant time this spring as he has been unable to pitch in any game. The only legitimate pitching he has done is throwing off a mound against live batters in practice. Considering how much time he has already missed, any damage to his neck or shoulder will result in Carpenter starting the season on the disabled list.
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. Unfortunately, they did not estimate him missing action the entire spring.
“Things weren’t just quite right,” general manager John Mozeliak said, according to MLB.com. “I would use the term weakness. For precautionary reasons, we just think it’s time to take a timeout, have him evaluated. We’re trying to determine if it’s the neck, the shoulder and what’s causing the weakness. We don’t know the answer to that yet.”
Considering Carpenter’s tests came back negative, St. Louis doctors are thinking it could possibly be nerve damage and will have to run more tests on Wednesday before they can come to any conclusion. It is no secret the former Cy Young award winner has a bad history of nerve damage and at the age of 36 it will be no picnic to try and recover from it.
With Carpenter most likely unable to start Opening Day, 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.
Not having Carpenter in the starting rotation at the start of the season will be a huge blow for the defending World Series champions. The fact that he has yet to really throw this spring has only set him back even further. Once he is able to throw again they will have to start his pitching program over from the beginning which could result in missing several weeks of regular season play.