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Chris Carpenter leaves Cardinals camp following setback with neck injury

Mar 21, 2012, 10:00 AM EDT

carpenter getty Getty Images

Whatever progress Chris Carpenter had made in his recovery from a neck injury has been wiped away, as Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that the veteran right-hander has left Cardinals camp “to be further examined by nerve specialists after experiencing renewed symptoms associated with a bulging cervical disc.”

In other words: Not good.

According to Strauss he experienced “weakness” in his neck and shoulder after throwing batting practice Sunday, canceling today’s scheduled session and instead returning to St. Louis.

Carpenter’s odds of being ready for Opening Day now seem very slim, which means Lance Lynn figures to begin the season in the Cardinals’ rotation. However, general manager John Mozeliak told Strauss that surgery is not being considered at this point and Carpenter has not officially been ruled out for the opener yet.

And now Cardinals fans can hold their breath waiting for the latest test results to come back.

  1. stex52 - Mar 21, 2012 at 10:05 AM

    I hate being repetitive, but Oswalt! Oswalt! Oswalt!

    I understand that the Cards do have other options. But file this under the general heading “Never too much starting pitching.” I find this whole Carpenter thing alarming.

    • The Baseball Idiot - Mar 21, 2012 at 12:08 PM

      Oswalt is more interested in cashing a paycheck than helping a team win. That atttitude doesn’t work in Cardinal Nation.

  2. puckthefatriots - Mar 21, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    Lynn is a beast..he can hold it down until Carpenter gets back

    • spudchukar - Mar 21, 2012 at 10:55 AM

      While Lynn has shown promise, he was only adequate in his inaugural starter opportunity. Currently, he is more suited as a reliever, as he develops his off-speed stuff. He has improved but like his earlier foray he will most likely struggle going through opposition line-ups the second and third times.

      Oswalt is the obvious option. He wants to pitch in St. Louis, but refuses to do it for peanuts. With the Carpenter injury, he has regained some leverage. It is time the Cards opened the coffers, and insure the fans they are serious about competing. We still have question marks at 2B, and perhaps CF and SS. Forcing Lynn into the rotation removes future moves with the likes of Boggs and McClellan the one place where the Cards enjoy a plethora of wealth.

      • salvomania - Mar 21, 2012 at 9:22 PM


        He’s made two starts in the majors, one in which he allowed 5 runs pitching into the 6th—-allowing four hits, zero walks, and with 5 Ks—and another in which he went five, allowing one run on six hits.

        I don’t think those two starts are enough to make any kind of proclamation as to his suitability as a starter; I think it makes more sense to look at his four years as a starter in the minors, as well as his entire body of work at the major league level—the two starts included—which produced a 40/11 K/bb ratio and only 6.5 hits per 9.

        At least give the guy a chance before you look to open the piggy bank for Oswalt. He has made the two starts so far this spring, and not surprisingly (as far as I’m concerned) he’s looked excellent.

      • spudchukar - Mar 21, 2012 at 10:18 PM

        Before one criticizes comments, due to a small sample size, accurate though it is, homework ought to be done. One place you do not want to go is to Lynn’s minor league record. At times it was adequate at best, and at other times it was far from encouraging.

        I watched both of Lynn’s starts, and stand by my analysis. No doubt Lynn was impressive once he was moved to the pen, which screams of the intelligence of leaving him there.

  3. salvomania - Mar 21, 2012 at 10:48 AM

    Yeah, I have tons of confidence in Lynn. The guy looked really solid at the big league level last year, and he had good success as a starter in the minors up until he was called up.

    He throws strikes, doesn’t walk people, and seems pretty unflappable. And he looks like a giant bear, which is a plus.

  4. cintiphil - Mar 21, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    It looks like the birds will have one less weapon against the Reds. That leaves the Reds in the drivers seat after you guys use Wainwright. The rest of your staff doesn’t have a great record against the solid hitting team the Reds have.

    • The Baseball Idiot - Mar 21, 2012 at 12:10 PM

      Still won the World Series, and still the favorite to win the divison.

      Good thing they play the games on the field.

    • forsch31 - Mar 21, 2012 at 5:38 PM

      Last year’s stats of current Cardinals pitchers Not Named Chris Carpenter vs. the Reds:

      Jamie Garcia–3 starts, 1.42 ERA, 19 innings, gave up 15 hits, 5 runs (3 earned), and 16 strikeouts for a 2-1 record.

      Kyle Lohse–1 start, 3.00 ERA, 6 innings, gave up 7 hits, 2 runs, and stuck out 4 for a no-decision.

      Jake Westbrook–3 starts, 5.28 ERA, 15.1 innings, gave up 16 hits and nine runs for a 1-0 record.

      And for giggles…Lance Lynn–3 appearances (no starts), 4 innings, 3 hits, 1 run, 8 strikeouts.

      I think that the Cardinals will be fine, outside of Westbrook (which kinda goes without saying)

  5. brucewaynewins - Mar 21, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    As a Reds fan I honestly hope he returns. Because I’d rather beat a full force Cardinals and brag about that than one that was hurting.

  6. sfm073 - Mar 21, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    Westbrook and loshe are in contract years and I wouldn’t be surprised if both of them have good years.

  7. billymc75 - Mar 21, 2012 at 9:31 PM

    Probably hurt his neck yelling at somebody!

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