COMMENTARY | The St. Louis Cardinals seemed like a very healthy team at the beginning of 2013. They had a few injuries, but they seemed well-equipped to handle them internally and continue to move forward.
The month of May has been a bit unkind to the team and has left it with a few long-term problems to adjust for.
Chris Carpenter, pitcher, 2/22/2013, spine and right shoulder irritation, unknown returnWhat a difference a few weeks can make. If we were looking at the disabled list a few weeks ago, the return of Chris Carpenter would have read "out for season, possibly career." As of today, he is scheduled to throw to live hitters next week and possibly be on a rehab assignment in June. Whether he returns as a starter or reliever is unknown, though he is currently working out on a starter program.
Jaime Garcia, pitcher, 5/18/2013, left shoulder strain, out for season
The confusing career of Jaime Garcia continues to evolve. After declining surgery late last season, he has succumbed to doctor's orders and underwent season-ending shoulder surgery just this week. The recovery time suggests that he may be a part of the rotation by June of next season.
It is important to note that Garcia is currently on the 15-day disabled list. Transitioning him to the 60-day disabled list will free up a 40-man roster spot, should the team need it.
Jason Motte, pitcher, 3/22/2013, strained right elbow, out for season
The biggest issue of the early season was the absence of closer Jason Motte and the confusion around a clear-cut closer stepping up. Since then we have learned that Motte would need season-ending surgery and Edward Mujica has settled the back of the bullpen.
Fernando Salas, pitcher, 5/21/2013, right shoulder inflammation, expected back early June
Salas is currently on the 15-day disabled list and, currently, shows no signs of needing more time than that. He has taken a few injections in the shoulder and the team is optimistic about how it is reacting.
Jake Westbrook, pitcher, 5/9/2013, right elbow inflammation, unknown return
Yet another Cardinals starter that is fighting with throwing arm issues, Westbrook had been playing catch and gearing up to start full workouts. Notice the past tense. Recently, Westbrook's throwing program has been derailed by an increased feeling of discomfort in his elbow. He has stopped throwing and, at this moment, the team is unsure of when he will begin again.
Rafael Furcal, shortstop, 3/22/2013, recovering from Tommy John surgery, out for season
Strangely enough, Furcal is the only position player currently on the disabled list for the Cardinals. Similar to Jaime Garcia, Furcal declined surgery last season and eventually would succumb to the need this year. He will remain out for the season and will likely not return to action before his contract expires at the end of the season.
The team has done well replacing these pieces with internal options from its minor-league system. The pitching depth is getting stretched a bit thin, however.
Fans hope that the remainder of the pitching staff can stay healthy.
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