Cards' Carpenter now left to think about his future -

Cards' Carpenter now left to think about his future

(BaseballStL) -- Everyone knows that nothing lasts forever.  So why is there a sudden shock element that the end to a career is nearing for Chris Carpenter?

It’s a sad truth that was made more concrete Tuesday when the announcement that Carpenter would unlikely step on a mound in 2013.

“I was absolutely surprised,” general manager John Mozeliak said.  “I certainly knew it was plausible that he can be facing injuries again because he has historically dealt with the DL, but to hear it the way we did it was certainly shocking.”

Mozeliak first heard of the harsh realization from the 37-year-old pitcher in a phone call last Friday.  He described the conversation as “sad” as the teary-eyed Carpenter told him the arm issues spiked when he began to throw harder in his bullpen sessions.

“He was definitely teary-eyed and I think he felt like, to some degree, he was letting us down.  I assured him that was further from the truth and that we were grateful for everything he has done for this organization,” Mozeliak said.

It sounded like the announcement of a retirement, but it isn’t -- yet.

“That didn’t come up at this point,” Mozeliak said.  “I think there are obviously financial implications when you use that word so I think at this point he will likely just be put on our DL.  At some point, he will start reflecting at the next chapter of his life, but not doing that today.”

For now, Carpenter will seek the attention of the team doctors and does not have an appointment to see the same specialist who recommended surgery to fix a nerve condition last July, Mozeliak added.

Still the outlook appears bleak for Carpenter although it sounded promising for the pitcher when he spoke at the Winter Warm Up in January. 

Fortunately, Mozeliak believes the discomfort in Carpenter’s shoulder and arm only occurs when he pitches.

Carpenter was invited to speak to the media, but there wasn’t much to add considering he, too, is still seeking answers to the issue.  Mozeliak hinted that Carpenter could address the issue at a later time.

His manager can understand the pain the aging star is going through with injuries threatening to cut his career.  Matheny dealt with concussions throughout his career and played his final game May 31, 2006.

“He’s hurt.  There’s no manuscript of how you handle the adversity that comes especially late in your career and not knowing if you’re going to get the chance to do it again,” Matheny said.  “To have things turn really quickly on him was hard for him to still continue to be tough and tough for him to handle. 

“He has a passion for this game to compete -- everyone has seen that.  He has a passion for this team and the players and his role as a mentor -- something he takes very seriously.”

Carpenter may be the most competitive player the fans have seen since Bob Gibson.  It’s an aspect to the character that the Cardinals will miss the most.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever witnessed a better competitor than Chris and, also, leader.  As we head into spring, there is certainly a void there, but there’s an opportunity.  We have to have some other guys step up,” Matheny said.  “As you look at the leadership that he has brought to this to this organization, especially our pitching staff, there’s something that’s going to be missed. 

“What he stood for and how we went about his business -- he’s a real throwback in the game and somebody that commanded respect by how he went about his business and how he treated people and how he played the game and how he loved to play the game.  Those things are something that will always be synonymous with Chris Carpenter.”

The Cardinals will now wait to see what unfolds of this, but the only thing certain is that Carpenter’s future is uncertain.

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