Elbow inflammation forces Carpenter to miss next turn

Updated: April 4, 2007, 2:42 PM ET
Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- Chris Carpenter will miss his next turn in the St. Louis Cardinals' pitching rotation due to right elbow inflammation.

Karabell: Don't Panic
Karabell
The news that Chris Carpenter will miss at least his next start due to elbow inflammation is a surprise, and more proof that hitters are far safer to draft than pitchers, Eric Karabell writes. Blog Insider

Carpenter complained of soreness Monday, the day after he struggled in the season opener against the New York Mets. An examination by team physician Dr. George Paletta on Tuesday did not include an MRI, and Carpenter said he thought his elbow already had improved.

"I'm not a doctor, but I feel it's a little bit better," Carpenter said.

The Cardinals said Carpenter will be evaluated over the next three days.

"The first indication is there's a chance it'll be something that is not real serious," manager Tony La Russa said. "We're going to be real careful with it."

Carpenter allowed five runs in six innings during a 6-1 loss to the Mets on Sunday night. He has been the staff ace the last three seasons after missing most of the 2002 season and all of 2003 following shoulder surgery.

"Obviously, anytime something's going on it's 1) frustration, 2) disappointing, and 3) I don't know if it's alarming or not," Carpenter said. "But I want to make sure it's OK.

"That said, everybody I've talked to, the doctors and trainers, are not alarmed. They're trying to make sure I know everything will be OK."

Carpenter had been slotted to pitch again Friday, jumping ahead of Adam Wainwright and Anthony Reyes to keep him on his regular routine despite two off days in the opening week.

Instead, Wainwright will pitch Friday in the opener of a three-game series at Houston and Reyes will start Saturday. Kip Wells, the team's new No. 2 starter, will start the finale of that series on Sunday. Wells had been scheduled to make his debut with St. Louis on Tuesday night.

Carpenter was an All-Star in each of the last two seasons, going 15-8 last year after winning the NL Cy Young Award with a 21-5 record in 2005. He's the lone holdover from the rotation that opened last season for the World Series champions.

Carpenter said the elbow did not bother him during the game, and talked afterward about improving on his debut in five days. But by the time he got home Sunday night, swelling had begun to set in.

"I could tell there was something going on because it felt funny," Carpenter said. "When I woke up the next morning it had swelled up pretty good."

He noticed it most when he attempted, unsuccessfully, to adjust his shirt because he was unable to bend his elbow enough.

"I was talking to my parents in the kitchen and I was trying to fix my shirt and went to grab my shoulder and it wouldn't go any farther," Carpenter said. "I was like, 'Oh, no.'"

Carpenter missed the 2004 World Series due to a biceps injury. Last season he was on the 15-day disabled list with bursitis in his right shoulder from May 22 to June 5.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press