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Chris Carpenter May Return to Cardinals' Rotation Soon

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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.