Cardinals considering “Plan B” options in case Carpenter misses the start of the season

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Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak spoke to ESPN 101’s Brian Stull on Sunday morning about Chris Carpenter’s neck injury, which has been officially diagnosed as a bulging cervical disc.

Mozeliak didn’t get into many specifics about the diagnosis nor did he speak about a recovery timetable for the 36-year-old right-hander, but he did admit there is an awareness in the organization that a backup plan will be needed if Carpenter is forced to miss the first few weeks of the regular season.

“Internally, we’ve discussed it,” said Mozeliak. “We definitely think we need to implement that Plan B so I think over this week you’ll see someone start to stretch out a little bit.”

Lance Lynn was a starter in the minors and could get consideration. Kyle McClellan is another option, as is lefty Marc Rzepczynski, a former starter in the Blue Jays’ system. The Cardinals also have one of the top pitching prospects in baseball in Shelby Miller, though the plan right now is for him to open in Triple-A.

Free agent right-hander Roy Oswalt seems set on waiting until the middle of the season to join a team, but the St. Louis front office did make an offer to him at one point this winter.

Adam Eaton sustains leg injury after tripping over first base

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Nationals’ outfielder Adam Eaton was carried off the field after stumbling over first base on Friday night. In the ninth inning of the Nationals’ 7-5 loss to the Mets, Eaton appeared to catch his ankle on the bag as he ran out an infield single, suffering a leg injury on the fall. He was unable to put pressure on his left leg after the play and required assistance by two of the Nationals’ athletic trainers as he exited the field.

Eaton is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday, but Nationals’ manager Dusty Baker told reporters that it “doesn’t look too good.” It’s the first significant leg injury the outfielder has sustained since 2014, when he went on the 15-day disabled list with a hamstring strain. He’ll likely be replaced by Michael Taylor in center field for the next couple of games, though that could be a temporary fix as the Nationals seek a better solution during Eaton’s recovery process.

Madison Bumgarner likely sidelined through the All-Star break

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It’s been just over a week since Giants’ left-hander Madison Bumgarner got a serious scare after a nasty dirt bike accident. He escaped with bruised ribs and a Grade 2 strain of his left shoulder AC joint, but there was some speculation that the injuries would cause a significant, if not permanent, setback in the southpaw’s career. Thankfully, things aren’t looking quite so bleak today. Not only will Bumgarner not require surgery, but he could return as soon as the week following the All-Star break, the Giants said Friday.

Of course, that timeline is wholly dependent on how smoothly the recovery process goes, so nothing is set in stone yet. NBC Sports Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic estimates 2-3 months of rest and rehab, including “two months before he can get back on the mound and then another three to four weeks of throwing and rehab starts before he’s big league-ready.” It’s a long and laborious schedule, but still looks much better than any surgical alternative.

Prior to the accident, Bumgarner was working on a solid start to the 2017 season. He maintained a 3.00 ERA, 1.3 BB/9 and 9.3 SO/9 through 27 innings with the club, though his average 1.75 runs of support per start fed into an 0-3 record.