September 4, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter (29) throws a bullpen session to hitters before the game against the New York Mets at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, MO. Carpenter had surgery in July to repair a nerve issue in his shoulder. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE

Chris Carpenter Injury: St. Louis Cardinals Will Start Carp Friday

Chris Carpenter has slowly worked his way back into pitching during the 2012 season.

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Chris Carpenter Injury: Former Ace To Pitch On Friday

The St. Louis Cardinals are looking for any slight edge they can get int he midst of a race for the final NL playoff spot, and the return of a former ace could be that edge. Chris Carpenter, who last pitched in the Major Leagues late last year, is expected to return on Friday against the Chicago Cubs:

Carpenter has missed all of this season after surgery for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. Last season he was 11-9 with a 3.45 ERA. He was able to throw four simulated games recently without incident. If effective, Carpenter can get St. Louis into the postseason and beyond.

Carpenter has been a postseason mainstay for St. Louis with a 9-2 career record. That includes a 6-0 record during the Cardinals 2006 and 2011 World Series championships.

For more coverage of the Cardinals, head over to Viva El Birdos. For all your St. Louis sports news, stay updated at SB Nation St. Louis. Head over to Baseball Nation for more on the Major Leagues.


Who Will Chris Carpenter Replace In The St. Louis Cardinals' Rotation?

Let's be clear: It's good to have Chris Carpenter back. The St. Louis Cardinals' longest-tenured player—he's been on their disabled list since 2003, and their active roster since 2004—is not only their emotional leader, and a hero of the 2011 postseason, but also one of their five best starting pitchers if he's healthy. But now that it appears he might be making three starts in September, which member of the Cardinals' crowded and inconsistent rotation will he replace?

Lance Lynn, after all—who came in Thursday to replace an injured Jake Westbrook—just won a crucial series opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers to put the Cardinals ahead in the Wild Card race. Joe Kelly came in to replace Lance Lynn, and has been a stalwart since coming up in midseason. And Jaime Garcia and Adam Wainwright, struggling in their own particular ways, are probably too valuable to shut down. Only Kyle Lohse has escaped the Cardinals' rotation's struggles all the way into September.

In the end, maybe bumping all of them might be the best solution. Fatigue has been offered as an explanation for Lynn and Wainwright's struggles; if Chris Carpenter can push them to a six-man rotation in September and the Cardinals can hold on to their second-Wild-Card lead, his presence on the roster could leave whichever pitchers make the postseason roster better-rested than the average October starters.


Chris Carpenter Injury: Cardinals Pitcher Could Start 3 Games In September

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter was shut down early in 2012 with neck, arm and shoulder issues, and on July 19 he underwent surgery that was supposed to end his season. Two months later, Carpenter is a simulated game away from returning to the major leagues.

If the 37-year old doesn't experience any issues when he throws, he'll be set to return to the Cardinals rotation early next week. That timetable could see him make three starts during the crucial month of September, as the Cards push for the postseason..

Carpenter and the Cardinals would have one of the two National League wild card spots if the season ended today. They defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers Thursday night, and that victory game them a 2-game cushion on the final spot in the post-season.

For more on Chris Carpenter and the St. Louis Cardinals, head over to Viva El Birdos. More news and analysis on the world of baseball can be found over at Baseball Nation, as well as SB Nation's YouTube Channel:

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