Tag: Chris Carpenter

Cardinals’ Chris Carpenter Progressing as Matheny Hoped

“He’s excited.”

That’s how St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny characterized RHP Chris Carpenter as he continues to make his way back to the major leagues.

Carpenter has been sidelined for the entire season following complications with a nerve condition he received an operation on last year.

In February, it was largely believed by Carpenter and the Cardinals that his career was likely over. Recurring pain and numbness during long toss and other offseason baseball activities left him discouraged and defeated.

For the first time in his 15-year career, Carpenter did not even attend spring training. He just needed to step away.

After a couple of months, a game of catch with his son sparked yet another “against the odds” comeback for the 38-year-old right-hander.

While the comeback itself has been the victim of a couple minor setbacks, the chances of seeing Chris Carpenter on a major league mound improve every time he throws a baseball.

His Monday evening start with the Springfield Cardinals, while a bit shaky, showed the Cardinals several things they needed to see.

Carpenter’s fastball velocity was clocking in around 94 mph which is faster than he was getting in 2012 during his brief return. His sinker also had better movement on it than in the past.

Of course, the start didn’t turn out well. Carpenter surrendered two earned runs and a home run in 2.2 innings pitched.

However, five of his eight outs came via strikeout.

The most important take away from this has little to do with his baseball abilitiesit’s the fact that he’s not hurting.

“He feels good,” Matheny said prior to Friday evening’s game against the San Diego Padres. “He felt good last time out, too.”

While he hasn’t necessarily progressed quickly, Carpenter has progressed steadily.

After 2012, Carpenter nor the Cardinals’ front office want to rush him along, and that’s the right call.

There is nothing for either to gain by rushing him into a situation he’s not yet prepared for.

“Overall, he’s doing exactly what we need him to do,” Matheny said. “He’s continuing to progress.”

Carpenter’s July 20 start will take place with the Triple-A Memphis Redbirdsnot in Springfield.

Does that mean they felt he pitched well enough to warrant a promotion?

“Don’t read too much into Triple-A over Double-A,” Matheny said, noting that Memphis’ schedule was more on pace with the schedule the Cardinals want to see Carpenter move toward.

In short, the move had to do with pitching against the right competition.

“He’s a big league pitcher, and we want to get him the best competition so we can get him back here,” Matheny said.

Carpenter will presumably make three to four minor league starts. During that time, the Cardinals will be evaluating the best way to use him.

After his final bullpen session at Busch Stadium prior to the All-Star break, Carpenter made it clear that his goal is to get back to where he once was as a dominant starting pitcher.

He also knows that rushing things is not there.

When asked how he was going to get there, Carpenter’s answer was simple.

“One throw at a time, one step at a time.”

All quotes obtained firsthand by the author.

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3 Reasons Chris Carpenter Missing 2013 Won’t Sink the Cardinals’ Ship

With the news coming down today that Chris Carpenter will likely miss the entire 2013 season, the Cardinals rotation suffered a major setback.

It was expected that Carpenter would return to form in 2013 and be a co-anchor with Adam Wainwright. This latest setback will most likely end Carpenter’s career

With Carpenter being lost, the Cardinals are going to have to replace an expected 15-18 wins in the rotation.  It is a good thing the current Cardinal roster is filled with the talent to possibly fill those shoes.

In addition to quality starting-pitching talent lining the roster, the Cardinals could also look to free agency to fill the void left by Carpenter.

One thing is certain, John Mozeliak is already evaluating all his options—with his track record of success, chances are he’ll makes the right call.

The Cardinals organization, the fans and baseball in general will miss Chris Carpenter.  When healthy, Chris Carpenter’s stuff is as good as anyone in the majors.  But it’s not looking good that he’ll make it back to the mound again.

If this was it for Carpenter, it was a good ride.  Three All-Star appearances, a Cy Young and playoff dominance, including his Game 5 gem in the 2011 NLDS, will shape his legacy.

All that said, here are three reasons things will be just fine without Chris Carpenter in the rotation.

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Carpenter Will Not Pitch in 2013, Career in Doubt

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Today the St. Louis Cardinals consider themselves in the same place they were at the beginning of 2012—not expecting ace pitcher Chris Carpenter to throw a pitch.

In a Tuesday afternoon press conference, general manager John Mozeliak, accompanied by manager Mike Matheny, made the announcement

Mozeliak said Chris Carpenter has experienced renewed discomfort in regard to the condition that cost him most of 2012.

Carpenter contacted the Cardinals on Friday of last week and informed the team that after numerous attempts at throwing bullpen sessions. He was experiencing the same issues with some additional quirks.

Mozeliak reported Carpenter has experienced bruising and redness in his shoulder and hand after throwing.

Carpenter was diagnosed in 2012 with thoracic outlet syndrome. He underwent mid-season and made a rather improbable comeback in time to pitch in the playoffs.

As recently as the Winter Warm-up, Carpenter told reporters that he felt optimistic and had started prepping early.

Mozeliak said Carpenter was clearly not happy about having to make the move, but he felt there was no choice.

“He was definitely teary eyed,” he said. “[Carpenter] felt like to some degree he was letting us down.”

Despite that, Mozeliak told reporters that Carpenter believed he needed to be sure that whatever is going on is not going to prevent him from having “a normal after-career life.”

When asked to characterize Chris Carpenter, Mozeliak used one word: passion.

“He’s one of the most competitive players I’ve ever been around,” he said. “[Carpenter] truly willed himself to want to win. I’ll always admire that about him.”

Matheny touted his “intimidating presence” and added that Carpenter really has “a lot coming crashing down on him at one time.”

While the immediate reaction was disappointment from Mozeliak and Matheny, they made it clear that the team is still ready to compete in the spring.

“After you get over the pity party of not having someone, you have to move on,” Mozeliak told reporters.

Mozeliak said that while many questioned the Cardinals’ lack of big off-season moves, he felt it was the best route to take.

Having not traded off pitching prospects for an additional shortstop gives the Cardinals a better crop of pitchers help fill the Carpenter void.

“There’s going to be some opportunities for some younger pitchers to contribute,” Mozeliak said, noting that there would be lots of work to do once they arrive in Jupiter, Fla. for Spring Training.

Matheny said he expects to see Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller, Joe Kelly, Jr. and Trevor Rosenthal all gunning for the new spot in the rotation.

When asked about whether departing free agent Kyle Lohse was an option, he said he didn’t want to discuss individual free agent options.

Despite missing nearly five years due to injury, he’s made a lasting impression on the Cardinals organization. Carpenter has compiled 144 career wins and is the only Cardinal aside from Bob Gibson to win a Cy Young Award.

His 1085 career strikeouts are only 10 behind Dizzy Dean who holds the second spot among Cardinals.

He is fifth on the Cardinals all-time WHIP list with a 1.12 ahead of names like Dean and Gibson.  

He is most well-known for his bulldog mentality on the field and for his 2011 postseason run that carried the Cardinals all the way through the World Series.

Mozeliak said Carpenter, who was not at the press conference, wanted to “get all of his ducks in a row” before speaking to the media.

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Chris Carpenter Should Consider Retirement Following Latest Injury Setback

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter‘s 2013 season is likely already over, but one has to wonder whether we’ve seen the last of him on a Major League mound after his latest shoulder-related setback.

Citing a recurrence of shoulder numbness, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak announced on Tuesday that Carpenter was “very unlikely” to pitch for the team in 2013, according to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.

It was a similar shoulder injury that was caused by rare a condition called thoracic outlet syndrome in 2012, which limited Carpenter to just three regular season starts. While no definitive statements were made on the 37-year-old’s career outlook, Mozeliak did not seem too optimistic.

When asked whether he expected to see Carpenter pitch again, Mozeliak responded in the negative.

“It’s very unlikely. So, no,” said Mozeliak (per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch).

Carpenter was not made available for Tuesday’s press conference, so it’s hard to ascertain what his mindset currently is. But perhaps the most interesting nugget of information from the Post-Dispatch’s story on Carpenter’s injury did not actually come on Tuesday. It came in January at the Cardinals’ annual Winter Warm-Up.

Asked about his recovery, Carpenter indicated that he would retire if he suffered another setback.

“If I have more health issues I’m not going to continue to try to battle through,” said Carpenter.

While it’s oftentimes a sticky road to tell someone what to do with their career, Carpenter should at the very least consider heeding his own words and retiring after the 2013 season. Though some would simply say he should hang up the cleats now, there are 12.5 million reasons why Carpenter should stick around for 2013. 

If Carpenter retires, he would forfeit his $12.5 million salary, per Rosenthal. So for him to stick around and play the mentor role for 2013 seems more than a little financially prudent, especially considering the Cardinals can use insurance to pay part of his salary.

But it’s hard to see Carpenter finding a good reason to continue his playing days. Carpenter’s shoulder/neck problems are so serious that Mozeliak said the right-hander “wants to make sure whatever is going on his neck, arm is not going to preclude him from a normal life,” according to USA Today

It’s exactly the type of setback many feared when Carpenter returned earlier than expected for the Cardinals’ postseason run in 2012. Expected to miss the entire 2012 season, Carpenter returned to St. Louis’ rotation on Sept. 21, throwing five solid innings in a loss to the Chicago Cubs.

He would go on to make three total regular-season starts and took the mound three more times in the postseason, where he gave up 10 runs (four earned) in 13.2 innings. While it was certainly a touching sight to see Carpenter battling for his teammates, it was pretty clear he was struggling to find his former greatness. 

Carpenter’s injuries are obviously nothing resembling a fluke. If he indeed sits out the entire 2013 season, it will be the fourth time in the past seven years that Carpenter has made fewer than five starts in a campaign. He’s also had chronic shoulder ailments dating back more than a decade, which was one of the reasons he wound up with the Cardinals in the first place.

Other than simply “loving the game,” there aren’t many reasons for Carpenter to return baseball-wise. Despite having a short run of brilliance, Carpenter is not a Hall of Famer. Not even close. He was a fantastic pitcher who shined brightest whenever the Cardinals needed him, but a 146-97 career record with a 3.76 ERA would barely get him into the “Hall of Very Good.”

More than any other sport, baseball celebrates longevity. Carpenter doesn’t quite have it on a Cooperstown level.

It’s not like Carpenter would be coming back to a guaranteed World Series contender, either. At 20-to-1 odds (per Bovada), St. Louis is currently considered the 12th-best team in Major League Baseball by the oddsmakers. With the Cardinals not exactly being the most splurge-prone team in baseball, it’s hard to see them being all that much higher up the list come 2014.

Though it’s theoretically possible that Carpenter would return with another franchise, that is probably the unlikeliest scenario of all. He’s been an exemplary member of the Cardinals organization and a pillar in the St. Louis community too long to walk away now. If Carpenter was going to leave, he would have already done it. 

There just comes a time where you have to walk away. Carpenter is obviously concerned about his long-term health, and an extra year of baseball isn’t worth jeopardizing his quality of life for the next few decades.

It’s unfortunate, but retirement is the only way Carpenter can guarantee any further damage being done. Just wait until 2014 to officially retire. You gotta get that money first.  

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St. Louis Cardinals: Will We Ever See Chris Carpenter Pitch Again?

On April 27, Chris Carpenter will turn 38 years old. His major league career appears to be on its final legs, but on Tuesday Cardinal fans found out that the retirement may come sooner rather than later.

It was reported by Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak on Tuesday that Carpenter is still feeling discomfort in his arm and it is “very unlikely he will pitch in 2013.”

Now the question is: Will we ever see Carpenter pitch again?

Carpenter only started three games at the end of last season for the Cardinals. In those games, he went 0-2 with a 3.71 ERA and had 12 strikeouts. He missed the majority of the season because of nerve damage in his arm.

Carpenter has had a history of arm problems in the past as well. He had to have Tommy John surgery after hurting his arm on opening day in 2007. He missed all the rest of the 2007 season recovering from that surgery. He tried to make a return in 2008, but could only start three games and pitch 15.1 innings that season.

Carpenter made a full return in 2009. He pitched 192.2 innings and went 17-4 with a 2.24 ERA and helped lead St. Louis to the playoffs. In 2010, he pitched 235 innings, going 16-9 with a 3.22 ERA. Then, in 2011, Carpenter threw 237.1 innings for the Redbirds, recorded a 3.45 ERA and had a record of 11-9.

The numbers were not as good in 2011 for Carpenter, but he came up with some big starts in the postseason, including a complete game shutout against the Phillies in Game 5 of the NLDS and a Game 7 win against the Rangers to help clinch the World Series.

Chris Carpenter has had an amazing career with the St. Louis Cardinals, culminating in a 2005 National League Cy Young Award and two World Series championships.

Hopefully, Carpenter can make a return to the game one day, but the future does not look bright. If this is the end for Carp, it has been an outstanding 14 year career.

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Can Chris Carpenter Ever Recover from Shoulder Injury That Will Cost Him 2013?

The Cardinals announced on Tuesday afternoon that Chris Carpenter would miss the 2013 season after a recurrence of shoulder problems. Carpenter missed the bulk of 2012 with a shoulder issue that was said to be corrected by surgery. The evidence and Carpenter’s injury history suggests that he will miss all of 2013 and could be done, period.

Carpenter had surgery to repair thoracic outlet syndrome in July, resulting in the removal of a rib to open up space in the area. This surgery is not uncommon for pitchers or other people with overhead, repetitive motions. (The occupation that most often has this issue? Carpenters, ironically, due to the hammering they do.) 

No other pitchers that have had this type of surgery have had significant setbacks of this type. That said, no other pitcher who has had this surgery has the long list of ailments that Carpenter has dealt with throughout his career. The best known comparables are David Cone and Kenny Rogers. 

Carpenter has always had injury issues, especially with his pitching shoulder, going back to his Blue Jay tenure. He came to the Cardinals after the Jays did not believe he would return to effectiveness after a rotator cuff and labrum problem.

The Cardinals rehabbed Carpenter through the 2003 season and were rewarded when he helped them get to the 2004 World Series with an excellent campaign. Carpenter did miss the World Series, losing the last month of the season and the playoffs due to a nerve injury in his shoulder.

Carpenter came back with a strong 2005 campaign, winning the Cy Young award. More problems arose in 2007 when he needed two elbow surgeries, including Tommy John reconstruction. Carpenter missed almost all of the 2008 season while rehabbing. 

Carpenter returned well in 2009, nearly winning the Cy Young Award. It should be noted that I was one of two voters that left Carpenter off his Cy Young ballot that season, though I had his fellow Cardinal Adam Wainwright as my No. 1 ahead of winner Tim Lincecum. My reasoning for picking Wainwright, Lincecum and Dan Haren over Carpenter was in large part based on Carpenter having missed a month with an oblique strain and the lost value of that time. 

Carpenter’s contract with the Cardinals expires after the 2013 season. GM John Mozeliak said at the press conference that he doesn’t believe that Carpenter will pitch for the Cardinals again. The extension, signed in 2011, was for two years and $21 million, but Carpenter was only able to pitch 17 innings at the end of last season. 

Mozeliak stated that the door was open for Carpenter to return this season if he is physically able, putting the team in a similar position to last year. In the meantime, the Cardinals will go young with their pitching. They will need Lance Lynn to give a full season of work after an excellent rookie campaign that saw him hit the wall in the second half.

They will also need top prospect Shelby Miller to step up, giving the team the SP2 that they now lack, while also not extending his young arm too far past the 150-inning mark he got to last season at two levels.

All quotes in this piece were obtained first-hand unless otherwise noted.

Will Carroll has been writing about sports injuries for 12 years. His work has appeared at SI.com, ESPN.com and MLB.com.

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St. Louis Cardinals: Chris Carpenter Likely to Miss All of 2013

The St. Louis Cardinals announced on Tuesday that Chris Carpenter “can’t continue to throw” and will likely miss the entire 2013 season, according to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.

General manager John Mozeliak says that Carpenter will seek medical attention regarding the discomfort he feels when throwing.

There have been no statements regarding a possible retirement for Carpenter, though the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published a story Tuesday morning regarding the possibility. If he were to retire, he would have to forfeit the $12.5 million salary he’s earned in 2013.

Carpenter made just three regular season starts (and three postseason starts) in 2012 after battling shoulder injuries all season long.

When healthy, Carpenter has been amongst the best pitchers in baseball. That’s been the problem over the entirety of his major league career, though, as staying healthy hasn’t been so easy for the 37-year-old.

Just yesterday, we saw Brandon Webb, another former Cy Young winner, hang up his cleats due to lingering arms issues.

There’s a good possibility that Carpenter could call it quits as well, though he could still spend the entire season on the disabled list and collect the money he’s still owed.

I’m sure there will be more on Carpenter’s situation within the upcoming days but, for now, we’ll just have to assume that the Cardinals will handle this as best as possible.

Their pitching plans certainly look different without Carpenter in the fold, but they have all of spring training to iron out those problems.

If this is the end for Carpenter, he’ll finish with a career record of 144-94, a 3.76 ERA and the 2005 NL Cy Young Award.

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St. Louis Cardinals Pitcher Chris Carpenter Unlikely to Pitch in 2013

It is a familiar story, but once again, injuries have derailed a season for Chris Carpenter.

St. Louis Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak announced on Tuesday that the veteran is unlikely to pitch at all in the upcoming season.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported the news on Twitter:

Carpenter missed most of last year with various injuries, but returned for three starts at the end of the regular season. The team had enough faith in the veteran to give him three starts in the playoffs as well.

Although he had a 1-2 record in the postseason, his 2.63 ERA helped keep his team in games.

Now, it appears that he will once again be on the sidelines while his team plays the majority of the season.

When healthy, Carpenter has been one of the top pitchers in baseball during his time in the majors. He started his career with the Toronto Blue Jays, but his production really picked up when he went to St. Louis.

In nine years with the Cardinals, the ace has a 95-44 record, 3.07 ERA and 1,085 strikeouts. His peak was in 2005 when he won 21 games and was rewarded with his only career Cy Young Award.

He has also topped 220 innings pitched in four different seasons.

Unfortunately, he also threw fewer than 20 innings in three different seasons.

While it is easy to speculate that this will lead to the 37-year-old professional announcing his retirement, Rosenthal reports that he is more likely to stay on the disabled list all season:

The pitcher remains under contract until the end of the 2013 season.

Carpenter has put together a great career; it is just unfortunate that injuries will once again play such an important role in it as he misses another season of baseball.

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St. Louis Cardinals Must Activate Chris Carpenter for Saturday Start

The St. Louis Cardinals had already called RHP Chris Carpenter‘s season over. He was shut down for the season by surgery to correct his thoracic outlet syndrome.

The idea was that hopefully by spring training he would be back to his old self following an intense regimen this winter that would have him presumably back to normal.

That was the plan less than three weeks ago. Plans change.

Once Carpenter was first able to begin resuming baseball activities, it felt good. He threw more and kept feeling good—a sensation he hadn’t had in quite some time.

He felt so good, in fact, that rumors began to fly about whether he could throw again this season.

After several simulated games and bullpen sessions, Carpenter on Monday was believed to still be a simulated start away from making his return to the big leagues.

As Cardinals fans have already learned in the Carpenter capers of 2012, plans can change.

Given the lackluster performance by LHP Jaime Garcia on Monday evening, plans need to change.

Follow the break for five reasons why the Cardinals must activate Carpenter for Saturday’s start in Los Angeles.

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Chris Carpenter: Cardinals Ace Reportedly Set to Return to Mound as Starter

The St. Louis Cardinals hold a half-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League wild card race and adding Chris Carpenter to their starting rotation for the duration of the season would provide a major boost.

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak told MLB.com reporter Jennifer Langosch this in regard to his recovering veteran right-hander:

Given the guys we have now in our bullpen, you can see some sort of piggyback scenario if it worked out that way. He has to build up his pitch count. Given the fact he hasn’t been able to throw much prior to surgery, he does feel good. It looks like he’s on track to contribute. We’re hopeful that’s what happens.

Prior to that, the report mentions that Carpenter must get to approximately 90 pitches in simulated game action in order for Mozeliak and the Cardinals to be comfortable with this possibility.

Carpenter’s presence, in any capacity, would be a major addition to this team as they make a playoff push.

He has a 3.76 ERA in his 14-year career and he’s won 144 games. He’s thrown in nine postseason series, going 9-2 with a 3.05 ERA over that span.

Carpenter is consistently reliable. Kyle Lohse and Lance Lynn have combined for 27 wins this year, but Carpenter’s proven resume would be a welcome addition to the team’s pitching staff.

Adam Wainwright has been good, but not great in his return this season and the Cardinals will need all the help they can get down the stretch.

This adds to the news that Langosch reported on Monday. The Cardinals will call up their No. 1 overall prospect, Shelby Miller, on Tuesday. He is expected to pitch out of the bullpen, leaving room for Carpenter to slot in among the starters.

St. Louis has a World Series title to defend. One key arm could be the difference between triumph and disappointment, and Carpenter is an ideal addition should his arm hold up in simulated action.

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