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Carpenter back on track, Cardinals face tough pitching decisions

Chris Carpenter threw 40 pitches in the bullpen today and it appears he's back on the right track after being shelved by a bulging disc in his neck.

It's still iffy at this point as to whether he will be ready to go in time for opening day -- oven taking a turn in the Cardinals' first trip through their rotation. But it doesn't seem that the Redbirds are going to have any shortage of arms.

Not only has Lance Lynn, originally projected to be a set-up man, pitched well as Carpenter's fill in, but just about all of the other candidates for the bullpen have pitched well also. Even the dark horses like Trevor Rosenthal, Kevin Seigrist and Joe Kelly have made a good impression. R.J. Swindle and Adam Ottavino are the only relievers who haven't pitched well.

Veteran Scott Linebrink, brought in to stabilize a young bullpen, hasn't allowed a run yet. Neither have Eduardo Sanchez or Fernando Salas. Marc Rzepczynski is sporting a 1.42 ERA while Lynn and Kyle McClellan have 1.50 ERAs.