Carpenter keeps removed rib for daughter
SEP 19, 2012 10:58a ET
So what do you do with a spare rib? The St. Louis Cardinals pitcher kept it as a souvenir for his 7-year-old daughter Ava.
Carpenter told FOX Sports Midwest he kept it because his "daughter asked to bring something back from the hospital, and she said a rib. So I brought my rib back."
Carpenter says it's sitting in a jar in his bathroom, and that at some point "we'll make it a necklace or bracelets or something."
The right-hander won 11 games last year for the World Series champions and was the National League Cy Young Award winner in 2005. He has yet to pitch this season while dealing with a nerve issue in his neck and right shoulder.
Carpenter has had numbness and tingling sensations in his arm and fingers at different points the past four seasons but was able to manage the pain and pitch through it. The issue became unavoidable this spring.
After attempting a brief comeback in June, Carpenter was shut down and elected for surgery after the numbness and tingling sensations never went away.
He had what was thought to be season-ending neurogenic thoracic outlet surgery on July 19. The rare surgery involves removing his top rib and two of the neck muscles that connect to it to allow the nerves to freely travel through the neck and shoulder area and not get pinched.
Carpenter had hoped to progress enough this fall to show the Cardinals that they could count on him for next season. After noticing a significant change when he began to throw, however, the goals and timetable were adjusted.
"My goal the whole time was to be prepared to let these guys know how I felt by the end of the season so we could go into the offseason knowing what kind of moves or what they can count on me for next season," Carpenter said. "Fortunately, I came out strong, and it's progressed. We sat around thinking, 'Why just throw bullpens? Let's push it a little bit and see if we can get back out there.' "
With the regular season dwindling and a potential playoff appearance approaching, the Cardinals are turning to Carpenter to contribute, beginning on Friday against the Cubs.
The veteran threw more than 270 innings in the 2011 regular season and playoffs, the most of any pitcher in baseball. He threw 36 grueling innings in the postseason, including two starts with only three days of rest and three World Series starts.
Carpenter surpassed the 4,000-pitch mark for the first time in his career, finishing with 4,155. He signed a two-year, $21 million extension with the Cardinals in September.
He went 11-9 with a 3.45 ERA in 34 starts last season. He's 144-92 in 14 big-league seasons with a 3.76 ERA.
Carpenter's return to a rotation that already includes Adam Wainwright and Kyle Lohse could make the Cardinals serious contenders for a return trip to the World Series should they qualify for the playoffs. They entered Wednesday with a 1.5-game lead on the Los Angeles Dodgers for the second wild-card spot in the National League.
B.J. Rains contributed to this report.
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