Carpenter’s Tells Mozeliak He’s Still Not Right


October 2, 2012; St. Louis, MO. USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Chris Carpenter (29) throws to a Cincinnati Reds batter during the second inning at Busch Stadium. The reds won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The devastating news that St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher, Chris Carpenter, has been placed on the disabled list today sent shock waves through Cardinal Nation.  This coming just weeks after the passing of Stan ‘The Man’ Musial, the Cardinals organization is rocked for second time in under a month.  In a press conference held early this afternoon, Cardinals General Manger John Mozeliak was somber and reserved as he gave the news next to Cardinals Manager Mike Mattheny.  “”Based on how he feels and the reaction that he’s getting from when he throws, it’s very unlikely that he’s going to pitch for us in the 2013 season,” Mozeliak said.  He took the call last Friday which was when Carp broke the news in a conversation that was undoubtedly emotional.  “He was sad,” Mozeliak recalled.  He went on to say “I think he felt like, to some degree, he was letting us down.  I assured him that that was far from the truth and that we were grateful for all that he’s done for this organization.”

Carpenter began feeling some weakness and numbness in his pitching shoulder last week while attempting to ramp up his workload and prepare for spring training.  On Saturday, Jan. 19th, Carp told reporters he felt good and hadn’t had any set backs.  Carpenter was diagnosed with horacic outlet syndrome and shut down just two weeks into spring training last year.   He underwent surgery on July 19th, 2012, which included the removal of a rib, yet found the seemingly super-human strength to pitch at the end of the 2012 campaign.  Carpenter is going to be 38 in this, the final year of his 5 year $65 million contract, and looks to earn a $12.5 million salary during the 2013 season.  Mozeliak said, when asked about possibly seeking out free agent Kyle Lohse, who was a force for the Cardinal’s starting pitching staff last year, commented that the front office wouldn’t be handling any deals like that on a public forum.

Carpenter, widely revered as a fierce competitor by anyone who watches baseball, it appears will complete the rest of his 20th season in the majors on the disabled list.  Initially drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in 1993, Carp first found himself in the Cardinals uniform in 2003, however he was forced to sit that season out with a shoulder injury.  After struggling with injury during the 2004 World Series, Carpenter returned to dominance in 2005 posting a 21-5 record and 2.83 ERA on the year.  He earned his first World Series ring in 2006, and that same year was signed to a 5 year, $65 million contract with a $12 million option for a sixth year.  Carpenter was always known as a tough, intense competitor.  One incident involving the Cincinnati Reds in 2010 included Red’s Coach Dusty Baker and the infamous cleating incident where Johnny Cueto pushed off the backstop and kicked his cleats into the back of Carpenter and fellow Red Jason LaRue.  Cueto received a 7 game suspension after the incident.

Carpenter has certainly secured his place in Cardinal’s history as one of the all time great pitchers.  He is a 20 game winner, holds the record for lowest ERA in the first 6 games as a Cardinal at 0.71, and threw one of the most sensational pitcher’s duels in recent memory against Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies, in which he shut out the Phillies in Philadelphia 1-0 ultimately carrying the Redbirds to a World Series Championship.  Chris, thank you for the memories and know that your legacy will carry on forever in the big hearts of Cardinal Nation.