Chris Carpenter: Cardinals Ace Considering Season-Ending Surgery
UPDATE: Tuesday, July 3 at 4:56 p.m. ET by Nicholas Goss
According to B.J. Rains of Fox Sports Midwest, Carpenter's season is over.
Chris Carpenter will have surgery. He's done for the year. #stlcards— B.J. Rains (@BJRains) July 3, 2012
This is a tough break for the Cardinals because Carpenter is a great player and a tough pitcher to replace in the rotation. It will be interesting to see how this injury affects the team's plans at the trade deadline.
The Cardinals and co-ace Chris Carpenter on Monday discussed a second shutdown and possible season-ending surgery due to continued nerve-related shoulder problems that again arose following the pitcher's most recent side session.
Given the severity of the injury, the fact that Carpenter's throwing session was canceled on Monday and his history of arm and shoulder problems throughout his career, the 2005 NL Cy Young Award winner has to be extra cautious—especially if he wants to extend his career.
Of course, at 37 years old, it's not like Carpenter is in the prime of his career. He continues to be very productive whenever he pitches, but he is no longer reliable to remain healthy over the course of a 162-game season.
What will Chris Carpenter do next season?
The Post-Dispatch reports that Carpenter is dealing with a unique injury called "thoracic outlet syndrome, a rare condition that compresses nerves and blood vessels in a region between the collarbone and rib cage."
Carpenter and the Cardinals are smart to explore all of their options right now. There is no point in dragging things out and delaying surgery—if he needs it—thus robbing him of playing time next year. It would be smart to let Carpenter do what he needs to now with hopes of returning in 2013.
The Cardinals already have a solid starting rotation in place with Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, Kyle Lohse, Jake Westbrook and rookie Joe Kelly performing well as a group. The National League Central is wide open, and risking Carpenter's health long-term when they may not even need him is not worth it.
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