Chris Carpenter to pitch Friday

St. Louis Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter will make his first start of the season on Friday against the Chicago Cubs.

Carpenter, 37, underwent surgery in July to relieve nerve compression that resulted in numbness on much of the right side of his body. The procedure was thought to be season-ending.

But the right-hander made four simulated starts recently without any incident, and is ready to join the rotation as the Cards make a playoff push.

Last season, Carpenter went 11-9 with a 3.45 ERA and played a key role in helping St. Louis win the World Series.

The Cardinals hold the second NL wild-card spot after splitting a four-game series in Los Angeles with the Dodgers.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.