Chris Carpenter Could Be Ace In The Hole For St. Louis Cardinals

Chris Carpenter pitched off a mound for the first time since March 3 Wednesday. The St. Louis Cardinals’ ace has been out with a mysterious nerve irritation in his pitching shoulder.

It’s almost a cliché at this point, but when a team gets one of its stars back off the disabled list around midseason, it’s almost as if they made a big trade deadline addition. The Cardinals hope Carpenter can work his way back to St. Louis, but the team is bound to be careful with the 14-year veteran.

Here’s what manager Mike Matheny had to say about his 37-year-old right-hander:

“We’ve been getting positive feedback from all his workouts, and every step that he’s taken it’s always positive. But let’s try not to put too much pressure on him that one thing means anything. We just want him to continue to get better and get him back as quick as we can.”

Carpenter threw just 26 pitches, all fastballs, at 85 percent of his regular effort. There is no timetable set for his return.

Last season, the New Hampshire native led all of baseball with 237.1 innings pitched. He threw an additional 36 frames on the Cardianls’ road to a World Series title.

Lance Lynn has stepped into Carpenter’s spot in the rotation and has pitched like an All-Star, posting a 9-2 record with a 2.66 ERA over 12 starts. Their rotation took a blow last week, however, when Jamie Garcia was placed on the 15-day Disabled List.

The Cardinals are 32-31 and trail the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL Central.

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