Cards' Carpenter suffers setback, will likely miss Opening Day -

Cards' Carpenter suffers setback, will likely miss Opening Day

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By Ezra Shaw By Ezra Shaw

(BaseballStL) -- The Cardinals announced today Chris Carpenter has been sent back to St. Louis for further reevaluation on a neck injury that has bothered him for most of spring training.

He just has not responded to throwing the way they that they had hoped and experienced renewed discomfort recently.

It's gotten to the point where the Cardinals have announced Carpenter will not be available to pitch Opening Day (though they won't say for sure if he'll go on the disabled list or not).  That will go to Kyle Lohse.  Mike Matheny says they will keep the rotation on turn as it is right now.  That means after Lohse, Jake Westbrook will start game two with Adam Wainwright starting after that.  Jaime Garcia will pitch the 4th game of the season with Lance Lynn remaining as the team's 5th starter.  With Wainwright pitching that 3rd game he remains on turn to start the home opener in St. Louis.  That was confirmed by Matheny this morning.

The question now becomes how long will Carpenter be out, what will they do about it and what will that mean for the team.  Question one is impossible to answer right now because no one knows it.  It could be a couple weeks for Carpenter.  It could be longer.  They just don't know.  What they're going to do about it answered in the short term (Lance Lynn) but what if this becomes a long term thing?  Roy Oswalt is sitting out there waiting to be signed but maybe the Cards aren't willing to do that unless they have an opening in the rotation for an extended period of time.  They'd feel very comfortable leaving Lance Lynn there to fill that spot for a few weeks...but do they want him starting (thus not being the set-up guy to Jason Motte) for longer than that?  Keep an eye on that situation.

Lastly, what will this do to the Cardinals as a team?  Carpenter is a huge leader in the clubhouse but, fortunately for them, that won't be affected.  You can still lead even if you're not pitching.  With him out though and Wainwright being restricted innings-wise coming back from surgery, the Cards really need someone to pitch a lot.  That's where Lynn fits in perfectly.  He chews up innings and stays healthy.  If they go out and sign Oswalt, that's not exactly a guy who you know can stay healthy.  Oswalt has back issues of his own and represents quite a risk to go deep into games...which is exactly what this organization needs.  Otherwise, this bullpen is going to be taxed to the extreme.  

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