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.

Padres release Phil Hughes

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The Padres have released right-hander Phil Hughes. He was recently designated for assignment.

Hughes was traded from the Twins to the Padres at the end of May in a deal that was, essentially, the Padres acquiring a Competitive Balance pick and agreeing to pick up half of Hughes outstanding salary, which is $13.2 million in 2019. The Padres used him for 16 relief appearances but he was terrible, posting a 6.10 ERA.

The 32-year-old is a 12-year veteran. Given that he’ll basically be free to anyone who wants him, it’s not unreasonable to think he’ll get a non-roster invite to someone’s spring training next year, but it could very well be the end for him as well.