Chris Carpenter leaves camp for neck issues

Chris Carpenter left spring training camp today because of neck issues

JUPITER, Fla. — Right-hander Chris Carpenter was a non-participant in workouts on Friday, instead spending part of the day undergoing another evaluation for persistent neck stiffness. The club is not expected to provide another update on Carpenter’s status until this weekend. For now, he remains listed as day-to-day.

Carpenter already skipped a side session earlier this week because of the issue. He was then tentatively scheduled to return to the mound on Friday, but instead was sent to see a specialist. The right-hander said he first felt the stiffness when he threw live batting practice on Saturday. That was Carpenter’s second batting practice session of Spring Training.

The Cardinals never announced when Carpenter would make his Grapefruit League debut, purposefully leaving flexibility in his schedule so that he could take ample time to build up his arm. Asked on Thursday to elaborate on Carpenter’s schedule, manager Mike Matheny described it as “still fluid.”

“We’re just kind of waiting and seeing,” Matheny added. “We’re just kind of watching and seeing when it seems right.”

Last year, Carpenter had a successful season after making only three spring appearances.

There was a chance that Carpenter would make his first start early next week, though that now seems unlikely since he hasn’t thrown in several days. Even if Carpenter’s first Grapefruit League start doesn’t come for another week, he would still have time to make four starts before the beginning of the regular season.

St. Louis has penciled Carpenter in to be the team’s Opening Day starter on April 4 in Miami. The 36-year-old righty is coming off a season in which he pitched a career-high 273 1/3 innings, including the postseason.

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