Chris Carpenter of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches in the second inning during Game Seven of the MLB World Series against the Texas Rangers at Busch Stadium in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
The Cardinals ace is going to miss an unspecified length of time with an unspecified neck problem. Being specific, this cannot be good news for the team.
Chris Carpenter threw a lot of baseball in 2011. He pitched 237⅓ innings during the regular season, including a complete-game shutout on September 28 that helped the Cardinals get into the playoffs. Then he threw 36 more innings in October, including another complete-game shutout on October 7 that put the Cardinals in the NLCS.
Those 273⅓ innings have apparently caught up to Carpenter. Joe Strauss:
Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter left camp Friday morning to seek a second opinion regarding persistent neck discomfort.
Carpenter, who was tentatively scheduled to throw a side session at Roger Dean Stadium while most of the club traveled across state for an exhibition against the Minnesota Twins, arrived in camp around 7 a.m. and left shortly after the team bus departed. General manager John Mozeliak confirmed that Carpenter left to be "re-evaluated" locally.
Carpenter will be 37 next month and over the last 10 years has missed large chunks of several seasons with all sorts of injuries. Strauss says the Cardinals have tentatively penciled in Adam Wainwright -- who's returning from a missed season due to injury himself -- to start on Opening Day, and the team doesn't have any specific timetable for Carpenter's return.
This cannot be good news for the Cardinals, who are trying to adjust from the loss of Albert Pujols to the Angels and their own changes in field management. If Carpenter does miss any time, though, it will be easier for anyone following the sport in general; they'll know when they hear the name Chris Carpenter that this guy is the one being discussed.