Carpenter to undergo season-ending surgery
Chris Carpenter will undergo season ending surgery after recurrences of numbness and weakness made it evident that the right-hander would be unable to pitch through thoracic outlet syndrome this year.
Surgery is scheduled for July 19 and will be performed by Dr. Gregory Pearl in Dallas. According to Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak, the usual recovery time for such a procedure is 3-6 months. That leaves the Cardinals confident that Carpenter, who is in the first season of a two-year, $21 million contract, will be at full strength at the start of Spring Training in 2013.
Carpenter said on Tuesday that he has every intention of pitching next season.
“I want to pitch again, and this is the way for me to pitch again,” Carpenter said. “We tried since Spring Training to get this going, and every time I tried to come back, unfortunately, it just doesn’t allow me to do that.”
Carpenter was first shut down with what was described as a nerve-related issue in March, when he began feeling weakness and numbness in his arm, shoulder and face following his throwing sessions. He sat out for nearly three months before resuming a throwing program in mid-June.
While Carpenter maintained that in recent days that his strength was where it needed to be, it became clear over the past week that there were still underlying problems. He skipped a schedule live batting practice session on June 25 and, after returning to the mound on Friday, didn’t bounce back properly over the weekend.
It was at that time that Carpenter, along with Dr. Pearl, Mozeliak and the team’s training staff, decided that surgery would be the best course of action. Carpenter visited Dr. Pearl last Thursday, at which time he was briefed on the risks and benefits of the procedure, which will involve removing a rib and two muscles in Carpenter’s neck.
“I think everybody in there is disappointed that we’ll lose the year,” Carpenter said. “I think they’re disappointed, including myself, that I have to do this again. But this is also the first time that there are some answers and we can get this taken care of. Hopefully I can get back out there and get better than I have been in the past.”
The thoracic outlet syndrome diagnosis is one that Carpenter first received in 2008, when he was limited to 15 1/3 innings. At the time, Carpenter opted not to undergo surgery. He dealt with some of the symptoms in the seasons that followed, but it wasn’t until this spring that the discomfort became too much to pitch through.
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