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Chris Carpenter could return as a reliever

May 4, 2013, 2:00 PM EDT

Chris Carpenter Getty Images

The Cardinals’ starting rotation is doing quite well thus far, leading baseball with an aggregate 2.07 ERA. Their bullpen, on the other hand, brings up the rear at 5.67. They have lost Jason Motte for the season as the right-hander will undergo Tommy John surgery. Mitchell Boggs‘ stint at closer was short-lived as his 12.66 ERA in 10.2 innings earned him a demotion to Triple-A Memphis. Marc Rzepczynski, too, was demoted to Memphis with a 7.88 ERA. It’s ugly.

What are the Cardinals to do about their bullpen? According to Joe Strauss, John Mozeliak’s hope is that 2005 Cy Young award winner Chris Carpenter will be able to rejoin the team in the summer and serve the team as a reliever as summer approaches.

This is no stunt or pat on the head to a veteran unwilling to concede the obvious. Both parties believe Carpenter can potentially address the gash to the bullpen’s starboard side.

“I’m candidly optimistic and excited about him contributing,” Mozeliak says.

Carpenter remains on the team’s 60-day disabled list, meaning he can not be activated sooner than the end of this month. Though no formal timetable is in place, Mozeliak thinks a projected return in late June or early July reasonable.

Though not the norm, it isn’t surprising to see an injured starter returning as a reliever. John Smoltz is an example that immediately comes to mind. Livan Hernandez pitched out of the bullpen last year with the Braves and Brewers after having made 474 consecutive starts between 1997-2011, though not with much success.

  1. okwhitefalcon - May 4, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    Carp’s just crazy enough to pull this off, it’s be cool to see him back.

    • dwrek5 - May 4, 2013 at 3:22 PM

      I thought what he pulled off last year was impossible, so definitely not going to doubt him now!

  2. westcoastredbird - May 4, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    If there is anybody who has a closer’s mentality it be Carp. The Cardinal’s best competitve pitcher since Bob Gibson. Really cool that he’s also in the bullpen coaching up the young guns. Can’t wait until Rosenthal, Martinez, Miller, and Machine Gun Kelly learn that devastating cutter!

  3. onbucky96 - May 4, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    The only reason he hasn’t retired yet is for the money. His arm is shot, this season is his Golden Parachute.

    • spudchukar - May 4, 2013 at 5:43 PM

      If there were awards given for infinite degrees of wrongness, you would be a gold medal winner.

    • stlouis1baseball - May 6, 2013 at 9:37 AM

      Said the Redlegs fan…

  4. johnlang4458 - May 7, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    it wasnt that long ago when, (2004 to be exact) when another former starter turned reliever and eventually made it to the hall… any one remember Dennis Eckersley? Carp can do that too.

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