Chris Carpenter made three postseason starts in 2012 despite not pitching until September. / Troy Taormina, USA TODAY Sports
Chris Carpenter, the longtime ace of the St. Louis Cardinals and a central figure to their two World Series championships this century, will not pitch in 2013 due to enduring shoulder numbness, putting his career in doubt.
Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak made the announcement Tuesday at a Busch Stadium press conference, saying Carpenter "wants to make sure whatever is going on his neck, arm is not going to preclude him from a normal life."
There probably will never be any certainty about whether Carpenter ended his career by trying to will himself and his team into another World Series last season or how much damage he did helping push the team to the Series championship in 2011.
In 2012, he didn't pitch until Sept. 21 - but he wasn't supposed to pitch at all. He pushed the pace of his recovery after radical surgery to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome, which caused pressure on nerves in his right shoulder.
Carpenter made three regular-season starts and three more in the playoffs, beating the Washington Nationals in the NL Division Series by taking a shutout into the sixth inning before losing twice to the San Francisco Giants in the NL Championship Series.
"He's one of the most competitive players I've ever been around. He truly willed himself to win," manager Mike Matheny said.
But Carpenter, who turns 38 in April, informed the Cardinals on Friday that pitching this year was unlikely. "He experienced the numbness again in the shoulder and his hand," Mozeliak said, "as well as some bruising and some redness."
So the Cardinals will seek other options to fill out a rotation now topped by Adam Wainwright, Jake Westbrook and Jaime Garcia, though Garcia is rehabbing a shoulder injury and may not be ready for opening day.
Mozeliak would not directly address the availability of free agent Kyle Lohse, who was 16-3 for the Cardinals last season and 55-35 for the team over the past five seasons.
"We're comfortable with what we have," Mozeliak said.
Matheny said he would look at Lance Lynn, Joe Kelly, Shelby Miller and Trevor Rosenthal for the rotation.
Miller has been the organization's top pitching prospect since he was taken in the first round of the 2009 draft. He, Kelly and Rosenthal became key parts of the St. Louis bullpen in last year's playoffs though all are clearly considered long-term starters.
"After you get over the pity party of not having someone, you have to move on," said Mozeliak, who dealt with a similar situation in the 2011 championship year when Wainwright was lost for the season in spring training.
Carpenter did it all in 2011, wrapping up St. Louis's unlikely World Series by beating Texas in Game 7. That was his fourth victory that postseason - without losing - in an October that began for Carpenter with a 1-0 win against Philadelphia's Roy Halladay in the deciding game of the Division Series.
The Cardinals took advantage of an earlier injury to obtain Carpenter in 2003 after he missed a year with labrum surgery. They signed him as a free agent knowing he wouldn't be able to pitch for about a year. He also missed most of the 2007 and '08 seasons because of elbow surgery but came back to lead the NL in earned average in 2009, going 17-4 and finishing second in Cy Young Award voting.
Carpenter won 144 games in 15 seasons, despite having Tommy John surgery and a variety of shoulder maladies. He won the 2005 NL Cy Young Award, had two other top-three finishes and also won three postseason games in the Cardinals' run to the 2006 World Series title.\
Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com
Read the original story: Chris Carpenter's career may be over