Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 9/17/12

St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Chris Carpenter will make his season debut on Friday, according to the team's website.

Carpenter, who was not expected to pitch at all this season because of nerve-related tissue problems in his neck and shoulder, got clearance to return after a 95-pitch simulated game on Saturday.

Carpenter was forced to stop throwing in March and had thoracic outlet surgery in July. At the time, his season was considered to be over.

Manager Mike Matheny announced Carpenter's return after he reported no soreness following his simulated game -- his fourth since July. He will pitch in Chicago against the Cubs.

"I'm looking forward to it," Carpenter said. "We've worked hard to get back and be able to do this. Like we've said all along, we weren't expecting it, but I'm excited. I think it's going to be a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to getting back out there and competing."

Carpenter is projected to make three starts before the regular season ends Oct. 3.

"He's a presence on this team," Matheny said. "He's a leader on this team. We're excited for him. We're excited for us. I'm anxious to watch him pitch."

The Cardinals began Monday 11 games behind the Cincinnati Reds in the National League Central but fighting for a wild card spot.

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