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Cardinals ace resigned to never pitching again

Chris Carpenter says that the weakness and numbness in his pitching arm hasn’t gone away.

Associated Press

Chris Carpenter says that the weakness and numbness in his pitching arm hasn’t gone away.

JUPITER — Chris Carpenter realizes his baseball career may be over.

The right-hander, 37, made a surprise appearance at the Cardinals' spring camp Monday and said he's still dealing with numbing and tingling sensations in his pitching hand, arm and shoulder.

"I'm not going to have surgery anymore," Carpenter said. "We'll see what happens. I don't see it. With the things that are going on in times of everyday life, I just don't see it getting better to be honest with you."

Asked if he wanted to continue pitching, Carpenter said, "I do. I just don't think I can."

The 2005 NL Cy Young Award winner is 144-94 with a 3.76 ERA in 15 big-league seasons.

He had neurogenic thoracic outlet surgery in July to eliminate a nerve issue he has pitched with in his right shoulder since 2008. He returned to make three starts in September and three in the playoffs and planned on a healthful start to 2013.

But as Carpenter ramped up his bullpen sessions in St. Louis the week before spring training, the weakness and numbness that he had dealt with for years returned. He informed the Cardinals that he was unable to continue pitching.

"It's just weird," Carpenter said. "Some days all of a sudden I was driving in the car, and I don't know if I'm in a certain spot or things happen, but there's definitely weaknesses. Just walking on the beach in Puerto Rico, my shoulder would get tired and start aching and be sore and things that you don't normally deal with."

Carpenter's contract calls for a $12.5 million salary this year, of which $2 million is deferred without interest and is to be paid in $200,000 installments each July 1 from 2017-26.

"I'll never officially retire," he said. "I'm going to continue to work hard and try to stay in shape and move on in the direction of what these doctors have to say to make sure nothing serious is going in there that will affect the rest of life. That's the thing that we're going to make sure is happening, and that is that my arm and my shoulder are going to be okay to do normal stuff throughout the rest of my life and not have any affects, five six ten years down the road."

Carpenter returned to camp at the urging of his wife and kids, who all just finished a weeklong spring break trip to Puerto Rico.

INSIDE TRACK FOR KAZMIR: The Indians have told right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka that will not make the opening-day roster, increasing the odds that former Rays left-hander Scott Kazmir will win a rotation job.

Matsuzaka, 32, trying to make a comeback after pitching in just 11 games last season with the Red Sox following elbow reconstruction surgery, accepted an assignment to Triple-A Columbus. He had been vying for a rotation job with right-hander Carlos Carrasco and Kazmir, 29, who hasn't pitched in the majors since April 2011 but has had an impressive camp.

The Indians also told right-hander Matt Capps he would not break camp with the club.

GREINKE SLOWED: It appears right-hander Zack Greinke's first regular-season start for the Dodgers will be pushed back by at least a few days and possibly longer. The Dodgers said the former Cy Young Award winner felt strong a day after his first bullpen session since he received an injection in his pitching elbow.

BANGED-UP BOSOX: Red Sox DH David Ortiz canceled a batting practice session because heel pain that had sidelined him for nine days was still too great for him to play. MRI exams last week revealed inflammation in both heels. Meanwhile, Boston shortstop Stephen Drew, out since being beaned March 7, will travel to Pittsburgh to be examined by a concussion specialist.

BREWERS: Shortstop Bobby Crosby, a former AL rookie of the year who hadn't played in the majors since 2010, was released.

CUBS: Right-hander Scott Baker was sent for an MRI exam after feeling some soreness in his surgically repaired pitching elbow.

D'BACKS: Left-hander Tyler Skaggs, one of the team's top prospects, was optioned to Triple-A Reno, leaving left-hander Patrick Corbin and right-hander Randall Delgado vying for the final rotation spot.

GIANTS: Third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who was scratched Monday with right elbow soreness, was diagnosed with ulnar neuritis, an inflammation of the nerve that runs through the elbow. He will be treated and reevaluated later this week.

METS: Third baseman David Wright will be named team captain before opening day, the New York Daily News reported.

PADRES: Third baseman Chase Headley was diagnosed with a small fracture in his left thumb and isn't expected back until mid to late April.

PIRATES: Right-hander Gerrit Cole, the No. 1 overall pick in 2011 and the team's top pitching prospect, was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis.

RANGERS: Right-hander Yu Darvish was scratched from his scheduled start because of neck stiffness. Darvish said the move was precautionary.

TWINS: Left-hander Scott Diamond, who had surgery in December to remove bone spurs from his elbow, will begin the season on the disabled list.

Cardinals ace resigned to never pitching again 03/18/13 [Last modified: Monday, March 18, 2013 11:19pm]
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