The comeback of St. Louis Cardinals right-handed pitcher Chris Carpenter is ready to ramp up. The 38-year-old will make his first minor-league rehab appearance on Monday, July 15 at Double-A Springfield, where he is scheduled to throw about 60 pitches. Carp was pronounced ready to go after throwing a three-inning simulated game at Busch Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
Carpenter has yet to pitch in game action this season after also missing most of 2012 due to thoracic outlet syndrome, a nerve ailment. After a spring 2013 setback, many wondered if his playing career might be over. However, his condition improved and Carpenter began his comeback in May.
While any schedule has to be considered extremely tentative, Carpenter pitching effectively every fifth day could lead to this scenario:
Monday, July 15: Springfield vs. Arkansas
Saturday, July 20: Memphis vs. Oklahoma City
Thursday, July 25: Memphis vs. Round Rock
Tuesday, July 30: St. Louis at Pittsburgh (doubleheader)
I selected home games for the Double-A and Triple-A affiliates.
Though St. Louis has/will enjoy 10 days off between June 10 and July 22 (including four days for the All-Star break), the club will have a grueling stretch right behind. They are scheduled to play 37 games in 37 days starting on July 23. It begins with consecutive road series in Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.
The only twin-bill during that time will be on July 30 in the Steel City, right on Carpenter’s schedule. As coincidence would have it, the early game (3:05 PM Central) is scheduled to be televised nationally on MLB Network as well as both games will be on FOX Sports Midwest as usual.
Of course, Carpenter must prove his soundness first. If he stumbles in between now and the end of the month, the Cardinals still have time to consider the trade market route prior to the non-waiver deadline.
Further, the Redbirds have three legitimate starting options available to St. Louis in Carlos Martinez, Tyler Lyons and Michael Wacha. But one can surmise that July 30 has been circled on more than one calendar.