Uh-oh. Chris Carpenter now seems likely to open the year on the disabled list, due to continued shoulder/neck issues.
Weeks ago, Carpenter was diagnosed with a bulging cervical disc, he had an injection in his neck, and he's been feasting on anti-inflammatory medication ever since. Carp threw a bullpen session on Friday and BP on Sunday, but apparently he didn't bounce back so well. This from his GM, via MLB.com:
"Things weren't just quite right," general manager John Mozeliak said. "I would use the term weakness. For precautionary reasons, we just think it's time to take a timeout, have him evaluated. We're trying to determine if it's the neck, the shoulder and what's causing the weakness. We don't know the answer to that yet."
Carpenter will reportedly undergo additional tests on Wednesday, focusing on possible nerve issues. So, again: Uh-oh. Big worry. The Cards obviously don't yet know the recovery time for this injury, but it's fairly clear that Carpenter will begin his season on the DL.
This clears a path to the rotation for Lance Lynn, a 24-year-old right-hander enjoying a terrific spring (11.0 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 Ks). He held the Braves to two hits and one run over 5.0 innings on Monday (highlights here), and you'll recall that he impressed in a relief role last season (1.04 WHIP, 10.4 K/9).
Lynn has been one of my preferred end-game fantasy targets thus far — took him at pick No. 312 in the Friends & Family draft on Tuesday, in fact. The setup in St. Louis is appealing (pitcher's park, respectable lineup) and Lynn's stuff is legit. He's currently unowned in 98 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Those of you in deeper mixed formats should kick the tires ... and maybe hope Mozeliak isn't already on the phone with Roy Oswalt.