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Chris Carpenter nearing return from surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome

Cardinals v New York Mets

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter throws to live batters during a simulated baseball game, Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012, at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. The 37-year-old right-hander, who underwent surgery to relieve nerve compression that resulted in numbness on much of the right side of his body in July, threw to hitters Tuesday before the Cardinals hosted the New York Mets. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Chris Lee) EDWARDSVILLE INTELLIGENCER OUT; THE ALTON TELEGRAPH OUT


When Chris Carpenter underwent surgery in mid-July to alleviate symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome, it was assumed that he would miss the rest of the season. However, it’s now realistic that he could play a critical role for the Cardinals down the stretch.

Carpenter threw around 70 pitches in a simulated game this afternoon in San Diego after which he told FOX Sports Midwest that he feels “absolutely” ready to make a start. While he’s chomping at the bit to get back out there, Jenifer Langosch of reports that he’s scheduled to throw another simulated game on Saturday where he’ll get stretched out to 90 pitches.

Carpenter is ramping things up at a convenient time for the Cardinals, as Jake Westbrook suffered an oblique strain Saturday and is expected to miss at least one start. Lance Lynn will return from the bullpen to start Thursday against the Dodgers, but Carpenter should be an option after that.

Carpenter, 37, hasn’t thrown a pitch in the majors this season after logging 273 innings between the regular season and playoffs last year.