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Carpenter not likely to return until after All-Star break

The good news is that St. Louis starting pitcher Chris Carpenter is getting better.

The bad news is that he's probably not going to even start throwing for another month or so. And that means the Redbirds will be without their ace until after the All-Star Game.

It doesn't really surprise me that the Cardinals are taking things slow. Carpenter, who has had arm problems of various sorts in the past, pitched a ton of innings last season. So it stands to reason that the club would try to take it a bit easier on him this time around. I wonder if he would have been on a more urgent time table if Lance Lynn wouldn't have burst out of the gate to a 6-1 start. But it's tough to imagine if Carp was 100 percent that he would be able to improve on that mark, so why not take his time?

I wonder if, eventually, Carpenter will replace Adam Wainwright in the starting rotation.

Wainwright is recovering from Tommy John surgery and the Birds might be wise to limit his innings this year to 150-175. So, is it coincidental that about the time Carpenter is ready to come back that Wainwright will be passing the 100 innings pitched mark? Maybe at that time it would be wise to slide Wainwright into the bullpen.

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