Carpenter likely to miss spring debut

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter was evaluated for persistent neck pain Friday morning in Jupiter and his results will be sent to specialists in St. Louis for further examination.

The former Cy Young Award winner canceled scheduled throwing sessions both Wednesday and Friday and general manager John Mozeliak said it was highly unlikely he would make his first spring start Monday as previously tentatively scheduled.

Carpenter has a history of nerve-related problems and the Cardinals are trying to determine if the current situation is related.

“He was re-evaluated today and based on what we’ve seen, they need to compare it to past history,” Mozeliak said. “So that’s going to be done by some specialists in St. Louis and then we’ll have a better idea over the weekend.

“I don’t want to characterize where we are mentally on this until we get more information and I think by the end of the weekend we should have a better idea or more clarity on the level of concern, if we have any.”

Carpenter pitched a career-high 273 1/3 innings last year — more than any other pitcher in baseball — during the regular season and playoffs. He threw over 4,000 pitches and made two starts in the playoffs on short rest.

The veteran missed the 2004 playoffs because of a nerve issue in his right biceps and eventually had surgery to fix a similar issue in his arm in 2008.

It’s unknown yet whether the current neck pain is related to a nerve or muscle issue. Carpenter turns 37 next month.

“They are trying to get to the root of why and what’s going on,” Mozeliak said. “Our hope is that things go well and he can get out there soon but we have to be patient and understand that it may take a few days before we determine what the future looks like.

“He’s had a history of this before and as far as where it originates and all that, I would be purely speculating.”

Mozeliak said the Cardinals would be fine with Carpenter starting the regular season if he made three starts this spring. An update on his status is expected in the next few days.

Adam Wainwright, who missed the entire 2011 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, made his first start Friday in nearly 18 months.