St. Louis Cardinals Chris Carpenter being evaluated for neck stiffness

8:02 AM, Mar 10, 2012   |    comments
Mar 1, 2012; Jupiter, FL. USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright (left) and Cardinals starting pitcher Chris Carpenter (right) jog to their next station during spring training at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE
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(The Cardinal Nation Show) -- Right hander Chris Carpenter, the Cardinals' prospective Opening Day starter, was being held back a bit this spring anyway after his 273-inning load of the year before.

But he then was pushed back even more because of persistent neck discomfort.

After seeing specialists in Jupiter, Fla., Carpenter said he would remain in pitching limbo until the team's medical staff has a clearer read on the source of his discomfort.

General manager John Mozeliak confirmed that results of nerve testing were being sent to St. Louis for further evaluation. Mozeliak said there were no plans for Carpenter to return to St. Louis for additional tests.

Carpenter said that his discomfort rose following a two-inning, 30-pitch live batting practice session against Cardinals hitters on March 3. He said his discomfort had decreased but that he and team had agreed that his program should be suspended until a diagnosis was made.

"With the time we have left in camp, it's best to wait until the rest of the reevaluation is done," Carpenter said. "I don't think anybody wants me to get back out there (until more is known), not just me."

Carpenter has dealt periodically with nerve issues for much of his time with the Cardinals, most recently in August 2008.

"We have to be patient and understand that it may take a few days before we determine what the future looks like," Mozeliak said.

Manager Mike Matheny told reporters not to read too much into it. "I understand you guys ( the media) talk about panicking; that's what you guys do," Matheny said.

"The job we have around here is not allowing anyone else to do the same thing until it's warranted. Right now, everything is just research. We can't, at least I don't, know what initiated it."

The 36-year-old Carpenter, even if he missed another week, still likely would have three exhibition starts to get ready for the April 4 opener at Miami. For the moment, highly touted right-hander Shelby Miller, the club's top draft pick in 2009, is taking Carpenter's turn.

If Carpenter, or anybody else, would be sidelined for any length of time, right-hander Kyle McClellan could step out of the bullpen as he did last spring when he wound up spending the first two-thirds of the season in the rotation.


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