Chris Carpenter: Cardinals Ace Reportedly Set to Return to Mound as Starter

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistSeptember 4, 2012

The St. Louis Cardinals hold a half-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League wild-card race, and adding Chris Carpenter to their starting rotation for the duration of the season would provide a major boost.

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak told reporter Jennifer Langosch this in regard to his recovering veteran right-hander:

Given the guys we have now in our bullpen, you can see some sort of piggyback scenario if it worked out that way. He has to build up his pitch count. Given the fact he hasn't been able to throw much prior to surgery, he does feel good. It looks like he's on track to contribute. We're hopeful that's what happens.

Prior to that, the report mentions that Carpenter must get to approximately 90 pitches in simulated game action in order for Mozeliak and the Cardinals to be comfortable with this possibility.

Carpenter's presence, in any capacity, would be a major addition to this team as they make a playoff push.

He has a 3.76 ERA in his 14-year career and he's won 144 games. He's thrown in nine postseason series, going 9-2 with a 3.05 ERA over that span.

Carpenter is consistently reliable. Kyle Lohse and Lance Lynn have combined for 27 wins this year, but Carpenter's proven resume would be a welcome addition to the team's pitching staff.

Adam Wainwright has been good, but not great, in his return this season, and the Cardinals will need all the help they can get down the stretch.

This adds to the news that Langosch reported on Monday. The Cardinals will call up their No. 1 overall prospect, Shelby Miller, on Tuesday. He is expected to pitch out of the bullpen, leaving room for Carpenter to slot in among the starters.

St. Louis has a World Series title to defend. One key arm could be the difference between triumph and disappointment, and Carpenter is an ideal addition should his arm hold up in simulated action.