Shut Carp down – now

by on August 13, 2008 · 4 comments

The news at ESPN.com is that and MRI has revealed that Chris Carpenter has a strain in his pitching *shoulder*, not a triceps strain as previously thought and reported.

LaRussa and Duncan are already preparing to use either Brad Thompson or Jaime Garcia in Carpenter’s rotation slot on Friday.

In yet another setback for a Cardinal starting pitcher returning from injury, the Cards have a lot more on the line with this one.  Carp is owed $15M per season for the next three years, each of which they desperately need him to be their ace.  There is absolutely no reason to try and rush him back to pitching again this year.  In what is quickly becoming a floundering playoff push (I’m still optimistic, but cautiously so), the Cardinals need to protect their investment in the future years of Carp’s contract.  It even makes me cringe a little to read “…will rejoin his teammates in Florida, where he will receive treatment from the team’s medical staff.”  Great, so they’re going to let Dr Paletta(nother pitcher’s arm implode) work on him.  Fabulous.

In a sick twist, this has at least brought the Cardinals’ brass to their senses regarding Adam Wainwright, according to STLToday.com.  Waino’s next rehab start is being pushed back to Saturday, where he will pitch for AA Springfield (not Memphis, as in his previous two outings) and get in 65-70 pitches.  This is good news, in my book.  However, the yo-yo-ing continues with this team.  Is he going to pitch in relief or start?  I realize situations are dictating responses in this case, but the guy has to get in the right mental state to know when and how he needs to pitch.  Sure, I give the benefit of the doubt to Wainwright and his mental strength and testicular fortitude, versus say a Joel Pineiro or even a Kyle Lohse, but I reckon it’d be helpful for him to know one way or another.  Hell, it’s probably even better for his arm if he prepares specifically one way or another.

The Cardinals, for better or worse, put their eggs in the Carpenter/Wainwright basket at the trade deadline.  Unlike a lot of Cards fans, I wasn’t terribly disappointed at the deadline, I think they were just being realistic about the capital they had to use in a trade, and where this team is headed for the next five seasons.

But if that was their excuse then, it has to be their approach now.  Don’t make a Mark Mulder story out of Carp, who has a history with his shoulder as it is.  Shut him down and hope that the rest of the Cardinals can pick up the slack.  After all, they’ve done it all season…

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Writing about the Cardinals and other loosely associated topics since 2008, I've grown tired of the April run-out only to disappoint Cardinal fans everywhere by mid-May. I do not believe in surrendering free outs.
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{ 4 comments }

StLCards August 14, 2008

I think the problem is the ‘history’ of the Cardinals organization in being forthcoming with information about players. I certainly don’t put any blame on Dr. Paletta for pitchers’ injuries and/or recoveries. In fact, I think Dr. Paletta is a great doctor and have first hand experience with him. He did an ACL surgery on my daughter and she has no problems whatsoever. If there is blame to go around you have to look at the athlete/agent and team management as they are the ones calling the shots and it is driven by economics and cost/benefits.

Carpenter is under contract to pitch and the Cardinals are in a playoff race. Medical tests can only reveal so much and that has to be taken into context with pain/discomfort that the ‘patient’ is reporting. If there are no clear medical problems or ones that “can’t be made worse” for example, and the player says he can pitch, then why not run him out there? Let’s say in Carpenter’s situation they put him out there and he blows out his shoulder. Would that be a result of not resting him enough, or would it be that there was an underlying problem that would have showed up in spring training the next year?

As I’ve mentioned before, I do think Izzy could have some medical ‘issues’ that aren’t being fully disclosed by the team. That feeling is based on past ‘history’ where Izzy was pitching with his hip injury. He was pitching awful and getting booed yet the Cardinals didn’t reveal the extent of his problem until after the season. I believe the rationale was that Tony didn’t want to give the other teams that kind of information. Certainly you can question the rationale of sending a player plagued by injury out on the field, but then again maybe we don’t see the Kirk Gibson HR if that were true?

All that said, I agree that Carpenter should be rested. My reasoning is that he hasn’t had enough time to properly build up his body to handle the wear and tear of pitching. Without proper conditioning (it’s not like he was just on the 15 day DL or something) then it would seem he would be more subject to muscle strains, etc. Then again, if I’m the team owner with a chance to make the playoffs then maybe you push a little harder than you should. Very fine line, but I would say the ‘risk’ lies with all parties involved.

With Wainwright I have mixed emotions. I think he is best served as a starter, certainly if Carpenter can’t go, but I’m also not completely sold on Perez as the closer during the stretch run. Right now he has to rely on the fastball, which is a wicked pitch, but he can’t locate it consistently enough. I keep thinking how devastating he would be with a decent offspeed pitch to complement the fastball. He’d have batters frozen in their tracks.

RE the trade deadline, I don’t mind them not adding anybody if it was going to take selling the farm to get them, but if the goal isn’t to go all out to win now, then it makes little sense to risk Carpenter either. Losing him for next year would be worse than losing the farm, especially in light of the pitchers we will likely lose to free agency. Where would we be right now though had the Cards added Sabbathia instead of the Brewers?

PHE August 14, 2008

Well, ultimately, the good news is that it’s his shoulder and not his elbow. If it were his elbow, the Cardinals would have a lot of explaining to do.

A mild strain in his shoulder indicates (to me at least) that Carp may have been trying to overdo it. He only pitched two rehab starts, and hadn’t been stretched out in his two big-league starts yet.

Now all of a sudden he finds himself in the 6th inning and is trying to reach for a little more (he was hitting 96mph if I recall), and winds up straining the shoulder, maybe trying to compensate a bit for the still weak elbow.

Today’s word is that he’s got a mild strain and could be throwing again in a few days. Good news, but I’ll stay guarded on it.

I think Perez is your closer until he gives you a reason he shouldn’t be, point blank. And maybe even several reasons, just like the other jokers got their chances. Right now he’s the best thing going for the Cards in the ninth.

FWIW, the Cards had no shot at Sabathia – not with LaPorta going to Cleveland in that deal. :)

StLCards August 14, 2008

So true about CC. At least the Brewers minor league system got a bit weaker :)

The Cardinals minor league system is looking to be in good shape according to one source I saw recently. Can’t remember now where it was but I think they were rated number 1 for future up and coming players or something like that. Maybe by MLN. Don’t have a subscription so I couldn’t read it anyway :(

Little searching and yep, that’s it. Here’s the teaser bit:
The St. Louis Cardinals have been named the MLN FAB50 Farm System of the Year 2008 by the editors for the best cumulative score of top players appearing in the FAB50 and in the Ones2Watch lists for this season.

http://www.minorleaguenews.com/baseball/affiliated/features/articles2008/07/15/00.php

PHE August 14, 2008

Wow, that’s pretty high praise. I’m hoping we see some breakouts from some of the guys in AA and high-A once they start sniffing around closer to the big-league club.

I’d love to see Brett Wallace in a Cardinal uni within the next two years.

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