The St. Louis Cardinals have scratched their staff ace, Chris Carpenter, from his next scheduled start on Tuesday. The swelling in his pitching elbow has returned. He saw the team physician, George Paletta on Monday. The diagnosis as the result of his MRI is an impingement in his elbow along with moderate arthritis.
The good news is he does not have any ligament involvement. The big question is how can they get the impingement cleared up so he doesn’t miss an extended period of time or need surgery. The arthritis portion isn’t serious because a lot of ballplayers experience arthritis-like conditions in various joints in the body.
Because impingement syndrome is not that common in MLB pitchers, it’s hard to make a projection on how long he’ll be out. Most likely, it is a posterior (back of the elbow) impingement, the result of overuse of the elbow joint over time.
The fact the swelling responded quickly to the oral medication he took last week is a positive. The fact the swelling returned after a throwing session on Saturday isn’t.
Unless the case is moderate to severe, which his doesn’t appear to be, anti-inflammatory medication, along with therapy to build up strength and increase the range of motion of the elbow, represents the most likely course of action.
Based on the available information, I project he will miss three to five weeks.
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