Does Chris Carpenter have yet another comeback in him? That's what the 37-year-old former ace, Cy Young winner and World Series hero now has to figure out.
But we learned this much today: Carpenter isn't expected to pitch for the Cardinals in 2013.
"Do I envision Carp returning?" St. Louis GM John Mozeliak told reporters at a Tuesday afternoon press conference. "I would say it's very unlikely, so no."
Carpenter was sidelined for much of the 2012 season with shoulder injuries. He returned to go 0-2 in three September and October starts. He did pitch the Cardinals past the Nationals in Game 3 of the NLDS, but took two losses against the Giants in the NLCS, pitching only four innings in each game.
"On Friday he had notified me after numerous attempts at throwing bullpens, he is still feeling the same discomfort he was experiencing during last year's season and just felt like at this point he can no longer continue to try to throw," Mozeliak said.
So why not just retire? Well, perhaps Carpenter does think he has another comeback in him. He came back from Tommy John surgery successfully -- historically even. And has battled various other injuries throughout his career, including a torn shoulder ligament that made him miss the entire 2003 season. Last season, he had a rib removed in order to return to the Cards. (He gave it to his daughter as a "souvenir" but that's not talk about that, OK?)
Carpenter's non-retirement could be financially motivated too. He's signed for $12.5 million for 2013. Sitting on the disabled list gets him paid. Retirement doesn't.
For their part, the Cardinals now need more out of Adam Wainwright, Jake Westbrook and Jaime Garcia (who is recovering from a shoulder injury of his own). Some combination of Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller, Joe Kelly and Trevor Rosenthal will round out the rotation.
"We're comfortable with what we have," Mozeliak said.
Spoken like a man who has been in this position before. You'll remember that the Cards lost Adam Wainwright before spring training in 2011 and Carpenter early last season.
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