Carpenter shut down; returns to St. Louis
Chris Carpenter returned to St. Louis on Tuesday to undergo a new series of tests after shoulder/neck weakness resurfaced during the right-hander’s session of catch on Monday. This latest interruption of his spring throwing program leaves Carpenter almost surely set to begin the season on the disabled list.
Carpenter’s spring routine was first stalled earlier this month by what the right-hander described as neck stiffness. An MRI suggested that the issue was being cause by a bulging disc in Carpenter’s neck. After 11 days of rest and treatment, Carpenter resumed throwing on March 14. He threw off the mound once and faced batters in a live batting practice on Sunday. Everything felt fine during and immediately after that session.
However, when Carpenter went out to play catch the day after, his body didn’t respond as he had anticipated.
“Things weren’t just quite right,” general manager John Mozeliak said. “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.”
All the tests Carpenter underwent on Tuesday came back negative. He will undergo another series on Wednesday, with these focusing more on a potential nerve issue. Carpenter has had a history of nerve-related problems, and he chose to travel to St. Louis for this most recent round of tests in order to meet with the same doctors that have treated the issue in the past.
The Cardinals won’t be able to establish a timeline for Carpenter’s return or a blueprint for treatment until they know the root of Carpenter’s discomfort. Mozeliak said that the club should have a pretty good idea of Carpenter’s immediate future in about two days.
“They’re just trying to go through the process to determine what that next step would look like,” Mozeliak said. “It is something of a concern in the sense that it’s reoccurring and we don’t know the exact source. It may be related to that [bulging disc], but it looks like it could be something else.”
Mozeliak added that it’s “highly unlikely” Carpenter will be on the Opening Day roster. That would leave Lance Lynn to assume the fifth rotation spot indefinitely. Lynn was recently put on a starter’s routine in preparation for the possibility that Carpenter would not be ready.
The Cardinals also have to choose a new Opening Day starter, as that honor was set to go to Carpenter for the sixth time in his career.
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