COMMENTARY | It is May, 2013 but the headlines for the St. Louis Cardinals seem like they have been pulled from a time capsule. Chris Carpenter may return the mound yet again, this time to help the struggling bullpen.
The Cardinals bullpen is struggling to say the least. Closer Jason Motte has announced that he will undergo Tommy John surgery to replace a ligament in his elbow and mainstays Mitchell Boggs and Mark Rzepczynski find themselves in Memphis trying to regain their form in the minor leagues. Rookies Carlos Martinez and Seth Maness have been brought to the roster to provide some much needed stability but they are very much unknown commodities at this level.
Then there's Chris Carpenter.
The former ace of the rotation, Carpenter has been injured often and this season would be no different. Days before the Cardinals spring training camp opened, Carpenter and the team announced that the hurler was shutting down any throwing programs due to pain in his surgically-repaired throwing shoulder. There was little hope or information given and it appeared that the former Cy Young award winner's career was all but over.
It appears that it would not be a normal season for the Cardinals if rumors did not begin circulating that a pitching problem would soon be resolved with the return of Carpenter. The last few seasons have seen the team put faith into the return of Carpenter to help settle the rotation. The early news now gives the feeling that a return may be in store so that he can help the bullpen.
The problem is the lack of information around the story. It has been said that Carpenter feels good and that the team is optimistic that this may work. Missing from the discussion is the activity that Carpenter is currently performing that allows him to proclaim a comfortable feeling. Is he playing catch? Is he throwing from a mound? Has he been doing the dishes without pain? What level of optimism should be applied based off of this premature report?
Carpenter is in the final year of his contract and may presume the final year of a successful, yet injury-filled, career. While his career, heroics, and sometimes super-human returns to the field have led the Cardinals to multiple pennants and world championships, the consistent rumor mill and speculation around the returns gets a little tiring.
The potential return of Carpenter in 2013 may be the final chapter of an amazing story. It could end with another story line that has the hero riding in to save the day. It may have a sad end of an ineffective player trying one more time to recapture his glory days.
I am ready for the final chapter to play out. Carpenter can be remembered as a great player for some of the best Cardinal teams of all time. Right now, I'm ready for a new book with different characters and fresh story lines.
No disrespect to Chris Carpenter, but I'm ready to move on.
- Sports & Recreation
- Chris Carpenter