Cardinals seek out starting pitching

Tuesday’s announcement that Cardinals right-hander Chris Carpenter will miss the entire 2012 season due to surgery not only brought resolution to the right-hander’s situation, it provides clarity for the club.

With the non-waiver Trade Deadline sitting just four weeks away, general manager John Mozeliak now knows with certainty that the club cannot count on a lift from Carpenter in the second half. That propels starting pitching up to the top of the organization’s list of immediate needs.

The Cardinals, who trail the Reds by 2.5 games in the National League Central, aren’t desperate for a starter. The club anticipates plugging Jaime Garcia back into the rotation in August, but it also has innings-count concerns to consider.

Both Adam Wainwright – who didn’t pitch in 2011 – and Lance Lynn – who threw 120 2/3 innings last year – are having their workloads closely monitored. In the case of Lynn, the Cardinals would prefer to eventually move him into the bullpen during the second half. Doing so would achieve two objectives.

It would keep Lynn from possibly breaking down from throwing too many innings. It would also fortify a bullpen that has been a weak point for this club for much of the season. The ability to move Lynn to the bullpen could hinge on the Cardinals’ ability to acquire another starter.

The Cardinals’ pursuit of a starter will lead them to look at all options, including pitchers who are only under contract through the end of the year. Acquiring a pitcher who could stay in St. Louis beyond the 2012 season could be ideal, but it would cost the Cardinals a greater load in a midseason trade.

– Jenifer Langosch

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