|Chris Carpenter rejoins the St Louis rotation, just in time to help the Cardinals make a push for the playoffs. (Getty Images)|
Following a pain-free bullpen session, Cardinals right-hander Chris Carpenter is ready to return to the mound. The Cardinals have announced Carpenter's return will take place on Friday against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
The start will mark Carpenter's first appearance since Game 7 of the 2011 World Series. He has been sidelined since spring training and underwent surgery in July to correct thoracic outlet syndome. The surgery, which entailed the removal of one of Carpenter's ribs, was supposed to be season-ending and, given his age (37), possibly career-ending.
Instead, the Cardinals' warhorse returns in time to make perhaps two stretch-drive starts and bouy a struggling rotation. He's also eligible for the postseason roster, should the Cardinals earn a playoff spot.
Last season, Carpenter posted a 3.45 ERA and led the NL with 237 1/3 innings pitched. He finished second in the NL Cy Young balloting in 2009 and won the award in 2005.