Chris Carpenter May Return to Cardinals' Rotation Soon

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 24: Chris Carpenter #29 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches in the second inning during Game Five of the MLB World Series against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 24, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Mike Segar-Pool/Getty Images)

Reports in July that St. Louis Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter would be sidelined for the entire 2012 season may have been premature. The 37-year-old right-hander is scheduled to throw a simulated game today and could return to the Cardinals' rotation in a few weeks, reports Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Carpenter is at least a week away from any decision regarding his availability, but the Cardinals know the role that will await him when he returns...

"Is it realistic? I think it is," general manager John Mozeliak said when asked if Carpenter, almost two months removed from surgery, could contribute.

Carpenter, who underwent surgery in July to repair a damaged nerve in his right shoulder, has not pitched in a big league game since his Game 7 victory over the Rangers last October. The tall right-hander will face live hitters today for the second time since beginning his rehab to build up strength in his nerve-damaged arm.

St. Louis has stated Carpenter's recovery timetable is "mostly unknown", and Mozeliak said that the club does not plan to activate the right-hander until they are confident that he can throw up to ninety pitches in an outing. Carpenter is on a two-year, $21 million contract with the Cardinals that will pay him $10.5 million this season and the next.

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