Star pitcher might be forced to retire

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Star pitcher might be forced to retire

From Comcast SportsNetST. LOUIS (AP) -- Chris Carpenter, one of the best clutch pitchers in the storied history of the St. Louis Cardinals, may have thrown his final pitch.General manager John Mozeliak and manager Mike Matheny announced Tuesday that Carpenter almost certainly won't pitch in 2013 and that his star-crossed career is probably over after a recurrence of a nerve injury that cost him most of last season. Carpenter did not attend, and Mozeliak said the emotions for the 37-year-old are still too raw.Retirement isn't official yet. Carpenter plans to seek further medical evaluation. But Mozeliak seemed resigned to losing him."He's leaving the door slightly open, but it's unlikely," Mozeliak said of Carpenter's return.Carpenter's career numbers don't reflect his value to the team. He is 144-94 with a 3.76 ERA in a career that began in Toronto in 1997. He spent six seasons with the Blue Jays and nine in St. Louis. He won the 2005 NL Cy Young Award, going 21-5 with a 2.83 ERA, and was second in 2009 after going 17-4 with a 2.24 ERA.More telling are his postseason results, including a 10-4 record and 3.00 ERA in 18 starts. There were the eight innings of three-hit shutout baseball in a Game 3 World Series win over Detroit in 2006, a series the Cardinals won in five games; a 1-0 shutout to beat Roy Halladay in Philadelphia in the deciding game of the 2011 NL division series; and the gutty Game 7 World Series-clinching win over Texas on three days' rest in 2011.His career is all the more remarkable considering the amount of time he spent on the disabled list due to various shoulder, elbow and nerve injuries. He missed most of 2002, all of 2003, most of 2007 and 2008, and then last year's season that was limited to three regular-season starts.Carpenter phoned Mozeliak on Friday and told him that after trying to throw off a mound, the nerve injury was back, this time including numbness in his right arm, even bruising on his shoulder and hand."After speaking with him on the phone you certainly get a sense that he's more concerned about life after baseball," Mozeliak said.The stunning news spread quickly. Third baseman David Freese tweeted: "Carp. 1 of the best teammates around. Heck of a competitor, impeccable leader. Passion for the game & to win, cant top. (hash)ace."Carpenter was a clubhouse force, a no-nonsense presence who set an example of grit and toughness. Consider 2012: He was written off as lost for the season after the nerve injury first emerged during spring training.But in July, Carpenter had radical surgery that included removal of a rib, and it worked -- he pitched three games down the stretch to help St. Louis earn the final NL wild card spot. He beat Washington in the division series but was 0-2 in the NL championship series against eventual World Series winner San Francisco, the velocity and command not up to his normal standard."I don't know if I've ever witnessed a better competitor than Chris, and also leader," said Matheny, a former catcher and teammate of Carpenter's before his current role as manager.Mozeliak agreed."When he was healthy he was one of the best," Mozeliak said. "He was blessed with talent but he also worked extremely hard. When I think back over the last 10 to 15 years here in St. Louis he was one of those guys who just helped create the model of success. He left nothing to chance."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.As recently as the Cardinals' annual fan gathering in mid-January, Carpenter was saying he was healthy and eager to pitch in 2013. Mozeliak said Carpenter tried throwing from a mound perhaps three times before calling him, emotionally saying he didn't think he could pitch."He felt to some degree he was letting us down," Mozeliak said. "I assured him nothing was further from the truth."Still, Matheny called the news "a kick in the gut" and the Cardinals have been through this before, too. Adam Wainwright had Tommy John surgery after hurting his elbow in 2011 and missed the entire season."There are a lot of young arms ready to contribute and now they're going to get that opportunity," Mozeliak said.He declined to speculate on whether the team would consider re-signing Kyle Lohse, who was 16-3 with a 2.86 in 211 innings for St. Louis last season but remains unsigned as a free agent.The Cardinals also have uncertainty about left-hander Jaime Garcia, who was 7-7 with a 3.92 ERA last season but was limited to just 20 starts due to shoulder fatigue. He was lost for the rest of the postseason after injuring his left shoulder in Game 2 against the Nationals.Wainwright, Jake Westbrook and Lance Lynn are expected to be in the rotation. Younger pitchers Joe Kelly, Trevor Rosenthal and Shelby Miller will compete for a spot."As we head into spring now there's certainly a void there, but there's also an opportunity," Matheny said. "We have to have some other guys step up."

Wright extends scoreless streak to 9 1/3 innings in Red Sox' 10-7 win over Pirates

Wright extends scoreless streak to 9 1/3 innings in Red Sox' 10-7 win over Pirates

The angst surrounding the David Price- and (possibly) Drew Pomeranz-less Red Sox starting rotation may have eased a little -- or a lot -- on Thursday.

Steven Wright extended his string of scoreless spring-training innings to 9 1/3 by blanking the Pirates for 4 1/3 innings in his third spring-traing start, leading the Sox to a 10-7 victory over the Pirates at SkyBlue Park.

Red Sox-Pirates box score

Wright allowed two hits -- the only two hits he's allowed this spring -- with one walk and three strikeouts.

Several of his pitching brethren, notably Heath Hembree and Robbie Ross Jr., didn't fare nearly as well. (See box score above.) But the Sox -- using what may be their regular-season batting order for the first time -- bailed them out with a 16-hit attack, led by Dustin Pedroia (3-for-3, now hitting ,500 for the spring). Mookie Betts, Hanley Ramirez, Jackie Bradley Jr., and, yes, Pablo Sandoval each added two hits. Sandoval also drove in three runs and is now hitting .362.

Xander Bogaerts went 1-for-4 in his return to the Sox from the World Baseball Classic.

 

A hungry ballplayer: Ex-Sox prospect Moncada once ate 85 Twinkies a week

A hungry ballplayer: Ex-Sox prospect Moncada once ate 85 Twinkies a week

This isn’t your average young and hungry player on the brink of the big leagues.

Yoan Moncada, the ex-Red Sox prospect who was one of the principal pieces in the trade for Chris Sale, ate 85 Twinkies in a week, his agent told ESPN The Magazine

David Hastings, Moncada's agent, clarified to CSNNE that this was a one-time thing when Moncada first arrived in the U.S. Moncada had never had Twinkies before, Hastings said, so he was like "a kid in a candy store."

He's still in great shape. Moncada had a huge spring training with the White Sox after a disappointing major-league debut with Boston in September. 

The 21-year-old third baseman has been optioned out of big-league camp, so he’s slated to start the year in Triple-A. But he hit .317 with a .391 on-base percentage and .683 slugging percentage and 3 home runs in 41 at-bats — some of the best numbers anywhere.

Moncada took a $31.5 million signing bonus from the Red Sox, money that the Sox turned into Sale. Moncada, meanwhile, didn’t exactly invest every cent.

Twinkies weren’t his only indulgence. 

More from the story: 

Moncada had money to spend on drones, video games, toys and clothes. He sometimes spent $1,500 or more during nights out, David says. After he purchased the second $200,000 car, Josefa [Hastings, David’s wife] tried to talk some sense into him.

David Hastings reinforced to CSNNE that the message to Moncada was to invest in things that appreciate in value.