Chris Carpenter diagnosed with bulging cervical disc

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From Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch comes this update on right-hander Chris Carpenter:

Still unable to project their co-ace’s return to the mound, the Cardinals nonetheless drew a sigh of relief upon learning Saturday that Chris Carpenter is dealing with a bulging cervical disc rather than a recurrence of career-threatening nerve issues.

Carpenter told Strauss “we can take care of this and move on,” indicating that he doesn’t expect to miss a large chunk of time, and Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak confirmed that the news is being received as a “step in the right direction.” Team physicians are expected to map out a recovery timetable for Carpenter early this week. He’s currently questionable for Opening Day, but a quick return to mound workouts could certainly change that.

Masahiro Tanaka to throw off a mound this weekend

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Earlier this month Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka strained both of his hamstrings while running the bases in an interleague game against the Mets and was sent to the 10-day DL. Today it was announced that the beginning of the end of most DL stints for pitchers — throwing off of a mound — is in Tanaka’s immediate future.

Tanaka is scheduled to throw off a mound Sunday, which will be his first real (well, fake real) pitching action since the June 9th injury. Assuming the session goes well, Tanaka is expected to return to the Yankees’ starting rotation sometime in early-to-mid July. With the All-Star break coming the week of July 16, it would not be hard to imagine the Yankees giving him a few extra days to get right.

Tanaka is 7-2 with a 4.58 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 73/19 in 72.2 innings on the season.