Chris Carpenter has bulging disk

Updated: March 13, 2012, 3:47 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

JUPITER, Fla. -- The St. Louis Cardinals are preparing a "Plan B" in case former Cy Young award winner Chris Carpenter is unable to recover from a bulging disk in his neck.

Carpenter left Friday's practice with a stiff neck. He was scheduled to pitch one of Monday's split-squad games, but the Cardinals decided to send Jaime Garcia to the mound against Atlanta and start rookie Shelby Miller, a former No. 1 pick, against Washington.

Carpenter, who turns 37 next month, has yet to pitch in a game this spring. Early in camp, manager Mike Matheny said Carpenter would be on a relaxed schedule this spring in an attempt to lessen the workload on his arm.

The Cardinals are preared to use Lance Lynn in Carpenter's potential absence.

Expected to be a member of the bullpen at the start of camp, Lynn could be a possible starter. The Cardinals are also considering Miller.

A 24-year-old year old right-hander, Lynn will make his first start of the spring on Wednesday against Houston. Both of Lynn's appearances so far this this spring have been in relief. He allowed two runs -- one earned -- in two innings while striking out three in his spring debut against Washington. He also threw a scoreless inning on Saturday against Miami.

Lynn made his major league debut in 2011, going 1-1 in 18 appearances (two starts) with a 3.12 ERA. He also appeared in 10 postseason games, accumulating a 2-0 record.

Last year, Carpenter posted an 11-9 regular-season record before going 4-0 in the postseason for the World Series champs. He threw 237 innings in 2011, surpassing the 190-inning mark in each of the past three seasons.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.