Chris Carpenter leaves Cardinals camp following setback with neck injury

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Whatever progress Chris Carpenter had made in his recovery from a neck injury has been wiped away, as Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that the veteran right-hander has left Cardinals camp “to be further examined by nerve specialists after experiencing renewed symptoms associated with a bulging cervical disc.”

In other words: Not good.

According to Strauss he experienced “weakness” in his neck and shoulder after throwing batting practice Sunday, canceling today’s scheduled session and instead returning to St. Louis.

Carpenter’s odds of being ready for Opening Day now seem very slim, which means Lance Lynn figures to begin the season in the Cardinals’ rotation. However, general manager John Mozeliak told Strauss that surgery is not being considered at this point and Carpenter has not officially been ruled out for the opener yet.

And now Cardinals fans can hold their breath waiting for the latest test results to come back.

Free agent slugger José Abreu signs 3-year, $58.5M deal with Astros

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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HOUSTON — Jose Abreu and the World Series champion Astros agreed to a three-year, $58.5 million contract, adding another powerful bat to Houston’s lineup.

Abreu, the 2020 AL MVP, gets $19.5 million in each of the next three seasons.

He spent his first nine major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox. The first baseman became a free agent after batting .304 with 15 home runs, 75 RBIs and an .824 OPS this year.

With the Astros, he replaces Yuli Gurriel at first base in a batting order that also features All-Star sluggers Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker.

Gurriel became a free agent after Houston defeated the Philadelphia Phillies this month for its second World Series championship.

The 35-year-old Abreu becomes the biggest free agent to switch teams so far this offseason. Born in Cuba, the three-time All-Star and 2014 AL Rookie of the Year is a .292 career hitter in the majors with 243 homers, 863 RBIs and an .860 OPS.

The Astros announced the signing. Abreu was scheduled to be introduced in a news conference at Minute Maid Park.

He would get a $200,000 for winning an MVP award, $175,000 for finishing second in the voting, $150,000 for third, $125,000 for fourth and $100,000 for fifth. Abreu also would get $100,000 for earning World Series MVP and $75,000 for League Championship Series MVP, $75,000 for making the All-Star team and $75,000 for winning a Gold Glove or a Silver Slugger.

Abreu gets a hotel suite on road trips and the right to buy a luxury suite for all Astros home games.