Crap. I knew this year was going too good.
I know it's a long read, but very informative.
SaintLouisPostDispatch wrote:HOUSTON - The Cardinals are projecting their starting rotation for the Division Series. And Chris Carpenter won't be part of it.
Manager Tony La Russa acknowledged for the first time Tuesday that the pitching staff's anchor, who has given the club 15 wins, would not be part of the four-man mix. Instead, he and pitching coach Dave Duncan have put together an alignment of Matt Morris, Jason Marquis, Woody Williams and Jeff Suppan, though La Russa didn't actually name names.
Nerve irritation affecting Carpenter's right biceps has prevented him from pitching since Sept. 19, and the club has no idea when he will be able to toss. Last week's diagnosis by team orthopedist Dr. George Paletta was encouraging because it found no structural damage to Carpenter's shoulder, neck or arm. However, it also provided little idea of when he would pitch again.
"We had never heard 'nerve' until the last time," said La Russa, who had projected the possibility of Carpenter pitching in the Division Series as "60-40" until hearing the medical verdict last week. "When that came into the diagnosis, yeah, it changes things. I think it's unlikely he would feel comfortable health-wise, much less (with his) effectiveness."
Head trainer Barry Weinberg confirmed that the club sees several similarities between Carpenter's nerve irritation and the condition that has limited Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Brad Penny to one start since early August. Weinberg classified Carpenter's condition as "very unusual" and couldn't give a time frame for the pitcher's return.
Weinberg spoke with the Dodgers training staff Monday. The similarity in the pitchers' symptoms further convinced the Cardinals that Carpenter is not an option for next week.
"It's a very unusual injury," Weinberg said. "We haven't encountered it before, so there's not a whole lot to go on. It'll get better when it gets better. That's about all you can say."
Carpenter is taking a week's cycle of oral medication; however, his right biceps has yet to regain its ability to flex. "It will get better," Weinberg emphasized. "We know that. It's just a matter of when."
In 28 starts, Carpenter is 15-5 with a 3.46 earned-run average while striking out 152 against only 38 walks in 182 innings. His .750 winning percentage ranks second in the league.
"I doubt if there will be any club that reaches the postseason 100 percent healthy with their pitchers and position players," La Russa said. "You've just got to deal with it."
Morris (15-9, 4.55) will make his first start since Sept. 20 in Thursday's series opener against the Milwaukee Brewers. The Cardinals plan a "bullpen game" for Friday, followed by Jason Marquis on Saturday and Williams on Sunday. Morris' status was clarified after he threw a second bullpen session in three days Monday without discomfort.
Carpenter's absence means the Cardinals will employ a seventh reliever in the first round. La Russa did not directly address the likelihood of carrying a third lefthanded reliever except to say the first-round opponent could influence his decision. The Cardinals currently project Ray King and Steve Kline as their only lefthanded relievers. Rick Ankiel, Carmen Cali and Randy Flores also are options.
Kline has remained on the disabled list since Aug. 28 with a strained groin and a partly torn tendon in his left index finger. On Tuesday, Kline threw a 20-pitch simulation against hitters So Taguchi, Cody McKay and bullpen catcher Dan Held. "I think we would give him the benefit of the doubt and watch him this weekend," La Russa said.
La Russa also spoke highly of Dan Haren, whose role would probably be as a safety net in case a starter labored badly in early innings.