St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter missed most of the 2012 campaign due to thoracic outlet syndrome injury. In February, it was announced that he will miss the entire 2013 season, as well.
This has some people around the baseball world wondering if the 37-year-old All-Star has thrown his last pitch in the big leagues. One of those people is injury-prone Carpenter, himself.
The right-hander made a trip to Jupiter, Fla. on Monday to pay a surprise visit to some of his teammates at the Cardinals spring training facility. When asked if he thought he might be able to play again, Carpenter didn't sound too confident.
From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
“I do (want to keep playing),” Carpenter said. “I don’t think I can. … There has been no change. There is some everyday stuff that is going on that is affecting me a little bit. Right now I’m just enjoying my time with my family. … I was planning on playing, on being a part of this team and make the choice at the end of the year whether I wanted to keep playing or not.”
Carpenter met with Cardinals team physicians last month for a series of scans that were needed to reveal whether he was dealing with a blood clot in or around his shoulder. Carpenter was unable to intensify his throwing program when nerve troubles returned to his right shoulder. He had surgery last year to create room in his shoulder for the nerves to fire without trouble.
The New Hampshire native said he continues to experience numbness in his right shoulder while doing simple things such as driving. On a recent family vacation to Puerto Rico, Carpenter even said he was suffering severe shoulder pain while casually walking on the beach.
Carpenter stopped short of throwing up the white flag for retirement, but the physical toll of 15 major league seasons is beginning to mount on the former Cy Young Award winner.
"I knew at some point it would come to an end," Carpenter said. "I hoped to make the choice myself."
Carpenter's career has been mired with a variety of injuries that have cost him time on the playing field. Still, he has managed to post a 144-94 record and a 3.76 ERA during his lifetime.
He is known to be one of the better clutch pitchers in the game as evidenced by his 10-4 record and 3.00 ERA in 18 career postseason starts. Carpenter was a perfect 4-0 during the 2011 postseason to help guide the Redbirds to the World Series title.
Via St. Louis Post-Dispatch