Has Chris Carpenter Thrown His Last Pitch for the Cardinals?
Now, after hearing that, you may very well be casting about your home, car, or office, looking for a calendar, hoping against hope you haven't fallen into some kind of sinister wormhole to the past, or gotten stuck in some irritating Groundhog Day-esque repeating loop. Hey, we did just have to see all those stupid Punxsutawney Phil stories just a couple days ago, right? It wouldn't be shocking if we all followed Bill Murray down the rabbit groundhog hole.
But no, don't worry. The year is 2013, and this is the first time we've gone through it. Chris Carpenter is just hurt.
In the never ending demolition derby that is the career of Chris Carpenter, we have yet another injury to consider. The same nerve issue that kept him out all season in 2012 has apparently cropped up yet again, leading to more numbness, and more bruising, and more doubts from pretty much anyone familiar with the last few years of Carp's life that he'll ever step back onto a major league mound.
Far be it from me to question or doubt the guy; I honestly thought he was finished last year when his shoulder went bad on him again, and he proved me wrong in a big way. I've learned my lesson: you don't bet against a terminator.
Still, if I were a betting man, I would be willing to put a rather large sum of money on Chris Carpenter having thrown his last pitch as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals, if nothing else. This was almost certainly going to be his last season with the Redbirds, and it now looks like he may miss it entirely. The issue is a simple numbers game, with the depth of pitching talent the Cards have cultivated, and the number of young arms knocking on the door of the big leagues. There just may not be room for Carp beyond this season, regardless of whether he ultimately comes back or not.
And, as sad as it makes me to say, if you want my honest opinion I think this is probably it for Carpenter. He's come back more times than I would ever have believed, but the nerve issue just doesn't seem to be going away. It's one thing to come back from an injury; it's another to struggle with the same issue over and over, with no real cure in sight other than perhaps hanging up the cleats.
So, maybe Chris Carpenter has thrown his last pitch. Or, maybe not. But, for now, it looks like the Cards are going to have to move on without their warhorse, just as they have so many times before.
Personally, I'm hoping they at least find some way to keep him in the organization down the road. I would love to see him as pitching coach in a few years, screaming about all the various fucks he doesn't give at umpires and seeking out brand new Brewers bench coach Nyjer Morgan in a brawl some day.