Chris Carpenter injury: Cardinals RHP will begin rehab assignment Monday


The veteran right-hander's long trek back from what was thought to be a career-ending injury is almost complete.

St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Chris Carpenter will begin his long-awaited minor-league rehab assignment next Monday, reports Jenifer Langosch of

Carpenter, who almost called it quits this spring because of chronic shoulder and neck issues, threw a three-inning simulated game at Busch Stadium on Wednesday -- his first session against live hitters in more than a month. The right-hander pitched well enough against Shane Robinson, Pete Kozma, and Rob Johnson that the club decided it was finally time to pit him against minor leaguers in a real game.

Carp, 38, will join Double-A Springfield on Monday, where he will make his first of several rehab starts. St. Louis has yet to decide whether the former Cy Young winner will rejoin the rotation when he returns to the big-league club or if he's now better suited in a bullpen role.

Carp will be limited to 60 pitches in his first rehab outing, and should have the opportunity to make three starts on regular rest before the July 31 trade deadline hits. If those first three starts go better than expected, it could potentially have an impact on what the club does at the deadline.

Ultimately, Carpenter can spend as many as 30 days on a rehab assignment, so the Cards have plenty of time to make up there minds about how (or if) they want to use him. A 15-year MLB veteran, Carpenter owns a career 3.76 earned-run average and 2.71 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 2,200 big-league innings.

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