JUPITER, Fla. -- Cardinals infielder Nick Punto will be out for approximately 8-12 weeks after being diagnosed with athletic pubalgia, commonly referred to as a sports hernia.
Punto had been dealing with discomfort in the area of his groin since the first day of camp, but he was still able to work out. The condition lingered, though, so Punto traveled to St. Louis see a specialist following the club's workout on Monday. According to general manager John Mozeliak, Punto will require surgery to repair the condition and will miss the bulk of the first month of the regular season, if not more.
"Obviously, you're looking at April and possibly May compromised," Mozeliak said on Tuesday afternoon. "In terms of how does it affect us, it gives someone else a new opportunity. But this certainly makes more sense than to try to manage it all year and fight that fight, because the outcome of this [surgery] is usually very positive. So speaking with the player and our medical staff, it seemed to make the most sense to go ahead and get this out of the way."
Punto dealt with discomfort in the general area of the injury from as early as April 2010, and spent time on the disabled list due to what was classified as a strained right groin. However, a late April MRI revealed no significant damage to the groin muscle. A Cardinals source said that Punto reported no discomfort over the winter, and he passed a physical exam before finalizing his contract.
With Punto out, Tyler Greene's place on St. Louis' Opening Day roster would appear to become more secure. An additional roster spot likely then opens up for a second backup infielder, with Daniel Descalso and Ramon Vazquez among the candidates to win that job.
Carpenter pleased with first throws of spring
JUPITER, Fla. -- Chris Carpenter's first batting practice of the spring featured all the hallmarks of a typical early-spring Carpenter throwing session. His stuff was impressive, while his command lagged a bit behind. He induced a good number of off-balance swings, even from the heart of the Cardinals' order. And there was lots of angry shouting.
Yet on Tuesday, there was also a balance to Carpenter's intensity. New Cardinal Lance Berkman continued to show why the club wanted not only his bat, but his personality in the fold. Berkman joked while Carpenter fumed, and even Carpenter admitted that he appreciated it.
"Every time you mention his name, everybody starts laughing," Carpenter said. "I think it's something that's good for this ballclub. Pleasure to have on this team. He's a good teammate, and from what I've heard from everybody else, to have that laughter once in a while, that joking around once in a while, is fun. Facing him during the season, other times when he was in Houston, you know this guy is a competitor. So you know he's a totally different guy when he walks across the line, and that's a good thing."
As for Carpenter's throwing, the former Cy Young Award winner was mostly pleased. Though he induced some swings and misses with his offspeed pitches, he wasn't thrilled with himself, but he considers that par for the course. As long as Carpenter is feeling good at this point in the spring, he's happy.
"It was fun to get back out there," he said. "One step of the spring that gets you going. I was happy I felt good. My arm felt good. My body feels good. Now it's just [about] getting it under control, like it is every year."
Lohse realizes he has plenty to prove
JUPITER, Fla. -- Kyle Lohse understands why so many people are watching him closely. But to Lohse, and to manager Tony La Russa, Lohse is just another member of the Cardinals' rotation trying to get ready for the regular season.
Lohse battled a forearm injury for much of 2009, had surgery for the condition early in the '10 season and spent most of the rest of last season trying to regain his pre-injury form. So he's fully aware that plenty of eyes are on him. He said Tuesday, though, that nothing felt amiss or unusual in his first batting-practice session of the spring.
"I know I've got lots of things to prove until I'm healthy for a full season," Lohse said. "Right now, it's pretty routine. I know there's always going to be questions until I put in a whole healthy season and don't have any problems. ... I'm just trying to get back to the way I was before all this started happening."
La Russa said before Lohse's throw that he's not watching the right-hander with any extra trepidation or curiosity.
"I think he's normal," La Russa said. "Everything he's been doing... He ended the year last year feeling good. He went the whole winter and didn't miss a trick. I don't think there was a hiccup all winter."
Allen Craig will work out with the infielders during drills this spring, manager Tony La Russa told reporters on Tuesday morning. Craig played outfield last year, but is working this spring to regain his familiarity at third base. ... The Cardinals' annual promotional commercials are being filmed at the complex this week. ... The club will likely work out inside Roger Dean Stadium on Saturday.
Weather report: The spectacular spring in Jupiter is expected to continue on Wednesday. The forecast calls for a high around 80, light winds, few clouds and almost no chance of rain.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.