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Chris Carpenter begins rehab assignment at Double-A

Jul 16, 2013, 10:15 AM EDT

AP Chris Carpenter AP

Chris Carpenter took a big step yesterday in his recovery from thoracic outlet syndrome, making his first minor-league rehab start at Double-A.

Carpenter threw 2.2 innings in his first game action since last year, striking out five and walking two while allowing three runs on six hits. In terms of numbers it wasn’t an impressive outing for Carpenter, but Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that the 38-year-old right-hander was clocked as high as 95 miles per hour with his fastball.

Allen Vaughan, who was at the game reporting for MLB.com, had a slightly different velocity story, writing that “his fastball sat between 89 mph and 92 mph, and his cutter ranged from 86 to 88.”

Either way, Carpenter’s fastball averaged 90.5 miles per hour in 2012 and most importantly after yesterday’s start he seemed very optimistic about how he felt physically.

  1. spudchukar - Jul 16, 2013 at 11:38 AM

    Like most Cards fans I view the news as hopeful but with caution. Take your time Chris. The signs are encouraging.

    • rohozx - Jul 17, 2013 at 2:06 AM

      carp is over the HILL; FORGET IT;

      • spudchukar - Jul 17, 2013 at 10:42 AM

        That “hill” you think he is over is merely a bump in the road.

  2. makeham98 - Jul 16, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    Carpenter is one of the few true stud pitchers left, the guy you want when the season is on the line in a single game. Unfortunately he’s so damaged now, but on a given day. . .

    • stlouis1baseball - Jul 16, 2013 at 12:39 PM

      Absolutely Ham.
      Which is precisely why (him being so injured) I would use him in middle relief.
      Talk about a weapon out of the pen!

      • gibbyfan - Jul 16, 2013 at 1:22 PM

        IMO, unless they make a solid trade (unlikely) they are going to need him to start. I hope and thin he will and that will make all the difference.

      • paperlions - Jul 16, 2013 at 2:50 PM

        Man, before the year some Cardinal fans were bitching about the lack of starting pitching. So the staff goes out and in their first 90-something games have the 2nd lowest ERA and 2nd lowest xFIP despite losing Garcia and Westbrook having a sting on the DL. Every starter won’t be a top of the rotation guy and every start won’t be lights out….sheesh, enough with the hand wringing already. Of the 5 guys they have starting now, Westbrook is the worst of them. They have Gast coming back at some point. Lyons has been on fire since his return to AAA, seeming fixing whatever he was doing wrong in his last few starts. Martinez is a viable starter option, and they are holding down Wacha’s IP so that he’ll be available this fall.

        They are awash in quality starting pitcher options….and all certain segments of the fanbase can do is wring their hands and hope for a trade? Do you guys read Joe Strauss on a daily basis or something?

  3. stlouis1baseball - Jul 16, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    I agree Paper. And in my opinion…I wouldn’t start Carp regardless. Even if he is fully healed. Which I don’t know how he could ever be “FULLY” healed.
    But again…that middle relief role pays two huge benefits.
    1) A bona fide stud in the pen
    2) Limits the stress on his arm

    • gibbyfan - Jul 16, 2013 at 3:13 PM

      Ok guys—respect your opinions and am hoping you are right. In a short time we will see so I will put ti out there and sadly make the following case:
      Westbrook is indeed the worst of the 4 starters and will continue on his downward trajectory. Will wind up with an ERA well over 4
      Lynn will fade and wind up with and ERA well over 4 —
      Shelby will continue to develop but will spend the rest of this year working things out –maybe he even gets sent back for a short time.
      Waino is of course a stud and will do well
      without a trade or Carp the fifth spot will be a merry go round with nobody eally siezing control –
      The bullpen will continue to be the bright spot
      So let’s see–would love to hear any other predictions
      STLOUIS 1–question–save Carp for what?? We will have less than two months left if and when he returns

      • spudchukar - Jul 16, 2013 at 3:41 PM

        Too harsh on Westbrook. While he can be frustrating, if healthy he is fairly solid if amazingly inconsistent, if that isn’t a contradiction. One game he strikes out 10, the next none. Or walks 6 and then no one, although his walks are too numerous. One time out it is great sinker, then excellent change/splitter, or has a dominant curve. Unpredictable stuff, but generally counted on to keep the team in the game.

        The jury should still be out on Lynn. He has had a couple of rough outings, but he was very unlucky in his last two starts also. Just because he tapered off considerably in 2012 doesn’t guarantee he will repeat that.

        About right on Miller. I doubt if he will remedy his high pitch counts, but he has only had one poor game. I wouldn’t have any trouble having him start Game #3 of a playoff, knowing 5 innings was all one could expect.

        Lee is the only difference maker on the market, so we should concentrate on answers internally unless we can pry him away from the Phillies.

      • stlouis1baseball - Jul 16, 2013 at 4:09 PM

        Good post Bob.

        As to your question…
        Pitching Carp every few days for 2 – 3 innings would lighten his load.
        Whereas…pitching every 5 days (for possibly 7, 8, 9 innings) would add undue stress.
        Unless you keep him on a stringent pitch count
        I don’t want my starters on a pitch count.
        I only feel this way because he is at the extreme tail end of his career.
        And coming off a serious injury at that.

    • rohozx - Jul 17, 2013 at 2:10 AM

      the CARDS suck;

      • stlouis1baseball - Jul 17, 2013 at 9:14 AM

        Success breeds jealousy Chump.
        Now do yourself a favor and turn that frown upside down. Your perpetual scowl isn’t healthy.

  4. spudchukar - Jul 16, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    Mostly agree PL. Still believe they should explore Lee, though, he could be a difference maker. But no thanks on Garza, I commented enough about that yesterday, but with the plethora of options, the Red Birds should only make a move that would significantly elevate their playoff chances.

    Watching Cincinnati and Pittsburgh over the weekend, I got a chance to view the Pirates, Cole, and the Reds, Cingrani. Man was I ever glad we have a recently struggling Miller, cause I wouldn’t trade him for either. They both were awful. Granted it was only one outing, but I came away considerably more optimistic about our staff.

    Plus, the next two weeks following the All-Star game should give us adequate time to evaluate. And unless we can pry away someone great, I say stand pat.

    • paperlions - Jul 16, 2013 at 3:37 PM

      I agree spud….if they make a move it has to be a MOVE…one that is a no-doubt-about-it upgrade that really hurts from trade perspective (giving up real assets). Trading for lateral moves like Garza makes little sense to me.

      Lee would make sense if the balance of prospects and salary made sense…his contract is already crazy expensive….but it really doesn’t look like the Phillies will be selling…at least, not this year.

      FWIW, I was not (mostly) referring to Cardinal fans that post here….but every time I read a Goold chat, there are a bunch of questions about trading for starters….at the beginning of the year there was a bunch of hand wringing about the starters. I understand that people are uncomfortable with the unknown…but if you compare yearly variation in veteran performances, you’ll see that any comfort with veterans is often mis-placed…they often aren’t any more reliable than young talented players….people just seem to get frustrated quicker with young guys when they struggle than with old guys when they struggle.

      Having said all that. I love Carp and hope to see him back in some capacity this year…be it starter, reliever, swing man, whatever.

      • spudchukar - Jul 16, 2013 at 3:45 PM

        Hear ya. What you get out of some veterans is certainty. Usually certainly poor. I like the unknown youthful option. At least there is hope.

      • paperlions - Jul 16, 2013 at 3:50 PM

        One thing that I have realized during this AS break….as a Cardinal fan, this has been one really fun season so far….even though everything hasn’t worked out (Carpenter and Motte hurt, Jay and Koz struggling, Holliday struggling, though some of his seems to be related to nagging injuries)….a lot has gone right. There is good organizational depth in pitching, and some potentially exciting young position players about to make a mark as well.

        Although I obviously care what happens the rest of the way…it seems like no matter what, it’ll still be an enjoyable time to be a Cardinal fan.

      • stlouis1baseball - Jul 16, 2013 at 4:13 PM

        On point Paper. It has been a very fun year thus far (fingers crossed).
        Personally, the most fun for me has been seeing Matt Carpenter develop into a very good baseball player. He has turned himself into a very decent 2nd baseman. And he can hit. Man…can he hit.
        Side note: I love the fact he doesn’t wear batting gloves. Old. School.

      • paperlions - Jul 16, 2013 at 4:16 PM

        Agreed. Love me some Matt Carpenter and the no batting glove thing is fantastic. Probably my favorite Cardinal to root for right now.

  5. okwhitefalcon - Jul 16, 2013 at 6:31 PM

    Carp in any fashion is cool with me although if he does make it back I suspect it’ll be as a starter.

    I’m down for a deal but not for a middle of the road guy, go big or don’t go t all – no “low hanging fruit”.

    It’s been a fun season thus far for sure, I’ve enjoyed watching the vets excel and a few of the young guys step up.

    As for the rotation, some good info regarding the starting staff from Bernie Miklasz this morning detailing the Cards issues (less Waino, they’ve stunk) over the past month or so:

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/bernie-miklasz/bernie-questions-about-the-cardinals/article_75c8d622-0d8a-5a53-9f88-d7246b6456ae.html

    “Will the starting pitching hold up? At the close of business on June 1, the Cardinals had a starting-pitching ERA of 2.49. That wasn’t going to last, but it was surprising to see the rotation unravel as it did over the past five-plus weeks.

    The St. Louis rotation has a 4.65 ERA since June 2. Over that time Wainwright had a 2.65 ERA and five quality starts. The other Cardinals’ starters combined for a 5.29 ERA and only nine quality starts in 30 outings.

    That must change, or this team will be vulnerable. Chris Carpenter could come to the rescue, but at this point no one knows what to expect from him. At least there are internal options; the fifth starter could be Carpenter, Joe Kelly or Carlos Martinez, and it would be premature to rule out Michael Wacha or Tyler Lyons as candidates.

    Or, the fifth starter could be installed via trade.”

    The Cardinals may need more than one starter to freshen up this group. Since June 2, Shelby Miller and Lance Lynn have been smacked for ERAs of 5.09 and 5.33, respectively.

    Get ready for plenty of rotation intrigue.

    • spudchukar - Jul 17, 2013 at 10:47 AM

      I say give them 3 more starts each. If they continue to struggle then adjustments can be made, but it is too soon to act. They have earned the right.

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