The St. Louis Cardinals have announced that Chris Carpenter suffered a re-injury of his shoulder and nerve issue and that it is “very unlikely” that he will return for the 2013 season. The injury is an early big blow for the team, who were hoping Carpenter could return after being injured for much of the 2012 season. Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak said Carpenter suffered from the re-injury while "ramping up" his workouts in the offseason. Carpenter was not in an attendance at the press conference. Mozeliak said Carpenter was emotionally distraught over the injury. News of the press conference was first reported by Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Carpenter underwent a radical surgery last year to remove a rib in an attempt to alleviate nerve issues with his right arm. Carpenter was able to return late in the 2012 season and pitch in the post-season, delivering a mix of good and bad starts without the velocity and command he had when healthy.
At the Winter Warm-Up in mid-January Carpenter said he had no issues with his throwing in the offseason. At the same time, Carpenter indicated that he would not be willing to battle through another injury. The injury appears to now have struck Carpenter just before the beginning of spring training.
In addressing the team’s future, Mozeliak said he was “comfortable” with the arms the team currently has stockpiled. Lance Lynn, Trevor Rosenthal, and Shelby Miller are all considered Major League ready starters who can fill a rotation spot, though probably not as effectively as Carpenter when he was healthy.
If Carpenter’s career is over, he will end with a 144-94 win/loss record and a 3.76 ERA over 2219.1 IP. Carpenter accumulated 1697 strikeouts against just 650 walks over that time. His best season was likely 2005, when Carpenter won the Cy Young with a 21-5 record and a 2.83 ERA over 241.2 IP with 213 strikeouts.
Cardinals fans will always remember Carpenter for the shutout performance he delivered against Roy Halladay in the deciding game five of the 2011 National League Division Series.