JUPITER, Fla. -- Chris Carpenter rejoined his teammates at the Cardinals' Spring Training complex on Monday and is expected to resume a strength and conditioning program midweek. The program, which will be crafted by the club's training staff, will be tailored to focus on strengthening Carpenter's right shoulder, which is currently hampered by nerve irritation.
Though Carpenter did not project when he might be healthy enough to return to the mound, he was not hesitant when asked if he would pitch again this season. Carpenter does not believe this to be an injury that could threaten his entire season.
"We have to just get my shoulder strong and get it stabilized, so I can get back out there throwing and stay out there," Carpenter said. "I have to get it strong, and when I get it strong, I'll be ready to come back."
Carpenter expressed some relief in being able to finally have a firm diagnosis that could explain the weakness he has been experiencing in his right shoulder. The injury was initially thought to be related to a bulging cervical disc, but after consulting with several St. Louis-area specialists last week, it was determined that Carpenter was again dealing with a nerve injury.
Nerve issues cost Carpenter parts of his 2004 and '08 seasons. He is certain to begin this season on the disabled list, and regardless of how quickly his shoulder strengthens, it appears as if the right-hander will be sidelined at least into May.
"It's always frustrating because you want to go out and compete," Carpenter said. "But I'm not going to be that guy who sits around and keeps his head down. You figure it out, you deal with it. There was some frustration during the week, while we were trying to figure out what was going on, but you move on. It's my job to get back in the weight and training room and get back on the field as fast as I can. I'll do that."
Carpenter will begin his strengthening program in Jupiter, but he said he expects to accompany the team back to St. Louis once the season starts.