Pro Side: Shoulder injury may force Cardinals' Carpenter into retirement
Long-time St. Louis Cardinal Chris Carpenter is doubtful to pitch this season and perhaps ever again due to the same nerve injury that sidelined him much of last year. While Carpenter was able to return from a mid-summer surgery to make six starts in September and October, the former All-Star continues to feel the ill effects of the nerve damage. He has been all but ruled out by the Cardinals for 2013.
Described as numbness and bruising in his right shoulder, Carpenter's latest injury is one of many career trips to the disabled list. St. Louis general manager John Mozeliak made an announcement about the starter's lingering symptoms on Tuesday and said he will receive further medical attention. However, he was not hopeful Carpenter would be contributing to the team's upcoming season.
At 37 years of age, Carpenter is seen as one of the best hurlers in the history of the Cardinals, particularly in the post-season. Over 18 career playoff starts, the ace notched a 10-4 record with an even 3.00 ERA. Even recently in his mid-30s, the Exeter, NH native tossed almost 50 innings of work in the last two post-seasons, picking up a 3.08 ERA and a 5-2 record.
Carpenter's best seasons came during his second and third summers pitching in St. Louis over 2005 and 2006. Having left the Toronto Blue Jays as a free agent in the winter of 2002, the tall right-hander sat out the 2003 season with a torn labrum. A mediocre 2004 campaign was then followed with a sparkling year that earned him the 2005 Cy Young. He set career bests with a 2.83 ERA, 213 strikeouts, 241 innings pitched and seven shutouts that all amassed to a 21-5 record.
The subsequent season, Carpenter played a major role in the Cardinals' 2006 World Series championship with another strong year on the mound. His last start was a Game 3 win over the AL champion Detroit Tigers, featuring eight scoreless innings of three-hit ball. Roughly two months later, St. Louis rewarded him with a five-year $65 million contract.
He is scheduled to become a free agent after this season.
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