Chris Carpenter is set to make his 2012 debut just in time for the St. Louis Cardinals, who could use an ace up their sleeve to boost their pursuit of the second NL wild card.
Carpenter was 4-0 in the postseason last fall but hasn't pitched since winning Game 7 of the World Series against the Texas Rangers. He returns less than two months after undergoing surgery to relieve a nerve ailment that caused numbness up and down the right side of his body.
"I worked my butt off to try to get back," Carpenter said. "And it worked out."
The 37-year-old Carpenter, who won the NL Cy Young Award in 2005, will make his first start of the season Friday against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. The former 20-game winner points out he's no stranger to late-season pressure, so he doesn't mind the idea of parachuting into the intensity of a stretch run.
Health permitting, he could get three key starts before the regular season ends.
"I've pitched in games that m...