The St. Louis Cardinals have certainly faced their share of adversity in 2012.
As injury after injury has swept through the team, they have managed to stay competitive. Even through slumps, the Cardinals still remain less than three games out of the National League Central lead.
While the Cardinals disabled list has thinned recently with the return of Skip Schumaker, Allen Craig, Jon Jay and Matt Carpenter, there are still a handful of impact players out of the lineup.
The Cardinals are 7-3 since their return through Monday, July 2. Prior to that, the team was 7-11 in the month of June.
All who remain are making progress, but some faster than others.
Continue reading for updates on those who remain on the disabled list.
Due back: Possibly July 13
Injury: Right knee injury against the Los Angeles Dodgers in May. He then had surgery for a torn meniscus.
Prognosis: He seems to be recovering well. Lance Berkman re-joined the team this week and hopes to make his way back into the lineup immediately following the All-Star break.
Where he stands now: Berkman hit soft toss in a batting cage at Busch Stadium on Monday, July 2 and seemed to respond well. He also did some running in the outfield, which is a definite plus for a player recovering from knee surgery.
Who goes back when he returns: One possibility is Matt Carpenter due to the potential logjam at first base, but most likely the victim will be Shane Robinson.
Due back: 2013
Injury: Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. Nerve-related problems that showed up during Spring Training have sidelined Carpenter until now.
Prognosis: Chris Carpenter had originally elected to forego surgery until after the season ends, but it appears that is a decision that has been re-visited. On Tuesday, July 3, he and the team determined that the best course of action was to have the surgery soon.
Where he stands now: Did not throw off the mound Monday as was scheduled and is officially shut down.
Who goes back when he returns: With Carpenter’s return now so far in the future, this becomes a non-issue. Whatever comes in 2013 will work itself out as always in Spring Training.
Due back: August
Injury: Torn rotator cuff and labrum
Prognosis: Instead of surgery, Garcia opted for rest and physical therapy as treatment for his shoulder ailments. While the surgery is not a sure thing, neither is rest and therapy. We should have a better idea of where he stands by next week.
Where he stands now: Garcia is expected to begin a throwing program in the first week of July.
Who goes back when he returns: The likely scenario is that Lance Lynn would stay right where he is and Joe Kelly could make a shift to the bullpen. That would keep Lynn in the rotation and offer the Cardinals a solution to the long-relief issue.
Barring any trade movement in the month of July that changes the dynamics of the rotation and bullpen, which is likely, this is the most probable scenario.
Due back: Possibly August
Injury: Strained flexor pronator, slight tear of UCL
Prognosis: Little has been said about where McClellan stands in his recovery at this point. The general hope is that his elbow has had some time to heal and may be good to go for the stretch end of the season.
Where he stands now: McClellan, the Cardinals long reliever and the closest thing they have in the bullpen to a veteran, is expected to throw from 60 feet this week. His return is still “uncertain” at best.
Who goes back when he returns: A return of McClellan to the bullpen would likely send either Maikel Cleto or Fernando Salas back to Memphis. Both relievers have struggled in 2012, but for the moment, the Cardinals' options are thin.
With Chris Carpenter unable to return, expect the Cardinals to be active shoppers in the starting pitching market. If they plan to remain competitive, that is almost as important as a bullpen upgrade.
The Cardinals don't need a band-aid, they need a cure.
The potential return of Lance Berkman could be huge for the Cardinals and could give them a much-needed late-season boost.
The same could be said of Garcia, but at this point his situation is still quite fluid.
Kyle McClellan's return would be huge for this team. No, he doesn't have the greatest numbers in the world, but he can consistently come out and eat up three innings in a pinch.
The Cardinals are in dire need of that right now.
The season still looks good for the Cardinals and general manager John Mozeliak is no doubt on the horn trying to work out a potential solution already.
Can he pull off another miracle trade like he did in 2012? We'll all have to wait and see.