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St. Louis Cardinals: Chris Carpenter to See Nerve Specialists for Neck Injury

Chris Carpenter and the St. Louis Cardinals hoped the bulging disk in his neck would be alleviated with rest and anti-inflammatory medication. The Cards shut Carpenter down last week, hoping that treatment would take care of the problem, and were relieved that he wasn’t suffering from any sort of nerve damage. Unfortunately, that approach hasn’t worked.As reported by the St. Louis Dispatch’s Joe Strauss, Carpenter’s neck hasn’t responded to treatment, and he’s gone back to St. Louis to be examined by nerve specialists. Carpenter threw live batting practice on Sunday but came back on Monday feeling weakness in his neck, shoulder and upper arm. The plan was for him to throw batting practice again on Wednesday, but those plans were obviously scrapped. After the bulging disk was diagnosed, the Cardinals held out hope that Carpenter might be healthy enough to pitch on Opening Day. But Carpenter said that he would need at least three spring training starts to be ready, as was the case for him last year. With this latest development, that clearly isn’t going to happen, and it appears that Carpenter will begin the season on the disabled list.St. Louis manager Mike Matheny announced that Kyle Lohse will be the Cardinals’ starting pitcher on April 4 against the Miami Marlins.The Cardinals were already taking precautions in case Carpenter wasn’t available, getting Lance Lynn stretched out to take a spot in the starting rotation. He’s made two starts so far this spring, allowing one run and four hits in eight innings of work. Overall, Lynn has compiled a 1.64 ERA in 11 innings. This will probably also cool down any talk of Kyle McClellan being traded. If Carpenter has to be shut down for the season, that’s certainly a huge blow for the Cardinals pitching staff. But they may also have a suitable replacement available at midseason. Somewhere in Mississippi, Roy Oswalt could very well be sitting in his armchair, gently tapping his fingertips together and hissing, “Ex-cellent.” 

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