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Carp's opener in doubt, Cardinals groom Lynn to fill in

As Cardinals starters make their second trip through the rotation, it's fairly obvious that Chris Carpenter's health setback has decreased the chance of his being available for his team's season opener.

While the St. Louis ace said Monday that he doesn't know when he'll be ready to resume throwing, both he and the Cardinals have downplayed the seriousness of his condition. They say it's unrealated to the nerve condition he suffered from three years ago that was considered to be a career threatener.

Instead, they say it is a bulging disc that is more than a "nuissance" than a major problem. Still, the Redbirds have started to stretch out Lance Lynn in case Carpenter misses a significant chunk of the season.

The Birds have shown no inkling that they'll jump back in on Roy Oswalt. So, hopefully, that is a sign that they don't take the Carpenter situation too seriously.

I am still not convinced that this isn't part of a plan to limit Carpenter's innings this year after he threw more than 270 in 2011. Would it be the worst thing in the world to hold him back for a month and keep some miles off the odometer in 2012? The 2005 Cy Young Award winner is entering his late thirties and is under contract for two more seasons.