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Cardinals RHP Chris Carpenter likely out for ’13

  • FILE - In this Oct. 15, 2012, file photo, St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Chris Carpenter sits in the dugout after being taken out of the game during the fifth inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League championship series against the San Francisco Giants in San Francisco. Carpenter is unlikely to pitch for the Cardinals this season and his career may be over because of a nerve injury that kept him out most of last year, general manager John Mozeliak said Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

    FILE - In this Oct. 15, 2012, file photo, St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Chris Carpenter sits in the dugout after being taken out of the game during the fifth inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League championship series against the San Francisco Giants in San Francisco. Carpenter is unlikely to pitch for the Cardinals this season and his career may be over because of a nerve injury that kept him out most of last year, general manager John Mozeliak said Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

  • FILE - In this March 8, 2012, file photo, Minnesota Twins minor league hitting coach Tom Brunansky, left, works with shortstop Pedro Florimon during batting practice at spring training baseball in Fort Myers, Fla. The Twins are counting on some fresh perspective and insight from the new assistants to help spark a turnaround from consecutive seasons of 99 and 96 losses.  Brunansky, a member of the 1987 World Series championship team, will continue the relationships he's made with some of the younger players in the minor leagues the last few years. Bench coach Terry Steinbach, a Minnesota native who finished his career with the Twins in 1999, will work closely with the catchers.(AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

    FILE - In this March 8, 2012, file photo, Minnesota Twins minor league hitting coach Tom Brunansky, left, works with shortstop Pedro Florimon during batting practice at spring training baseball in Fort Myers, Fla. The Twins are counting on some fresh perspective and insight from the new assistants to help spark a turnaround from consecutive seasons of 99 and 96 losses. Brunansky, a member of the 1987 World Series championship team, will continue the relationships he's made with some of the younger players in the minor leagues the last few years. Bench coach Terry Steinbach, a Minnesota native who finished his career with the Twins in 1999, will work closely with the catchers.(AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

  • FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2012, file photo, St. Louis Cardinals' Chris Carpenter wipes his face with a towel in the dugout during the fourth inning of Game 6 of baseball's National League championship series against the San Francisco Giants in San Francisco. Carpenter is unlikely to pitch for the Cardinals this season and his career may be over because of a nerve injury that kept him out most of last year, general manager John Mozeliak said Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

    FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2012, file photo, St. Louis Cardinals' Chris Carpenter wipes his face with a towel in the dugout during the fourth inning of Game 6 of baseball's National League championship series against the San Francisco Giants in San Francisco. Carpenter is unlikely to pitch for the Cardinals this season and his career may be over because of a nerve injury that kept him out most of last year, general manager John Mozeliak said Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

  • St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, left, listens as general manager John Mozeliak talks about the future of Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter during a baseball  news conference Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013, in St. Louis. The Cardinals announced Carpenter will not pitch in the 2013 season and his future with the club is uncertain due to a lingering injury. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

    St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, left, listens as general manager John Mozeliak talks about the future of Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter during a baseball news conference Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013, in St. Louis. The Cardinals announced Carpenter will not pitch in the 2013 season and his future with the club is uncertain due to a lingering injury. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

  • St. Louis Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak speaks about the future of Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter during a baseball news conference Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013, in St. Louis. The Cardinals announced Carpenter will not pitch in the 2013 season and his future with the club is uncertain due to a lingering injury. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

    St. Louis Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak speaks about the future of Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter during a baseball news conference Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013, in St. Louis. The Cardinals announced Carpenter will not pitch in the 2013 season and his future with the club is uncertain due to a lingering injury. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

  • St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny talks about the future of Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter during a baseball news conference Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013, in St. Louis. The Cardinals announced Carpenter will not pitch in the 2013 season and his future with the club is uncertain due to a lingering injury. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

    St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny talks about the future of Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter during a baseball news conference Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013, in St. Louis. The Cardinals announced Carpenter will not pitch in the 2013 season and his future with the club is uncertain due to a lingering injury. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

  • FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2012, file photo, St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Chris Carpenter reacts after giving up a triple to San Francisco Giants' Brandon Belt during the second inning of Game 6 of baseball's National League championship series in San Francisco. Carpenter is unlikely to pitch for the Cardinals this season and his career may be over because of a nerve injury that kept him out most of last year, general manager John Mozeliak said Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

    FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2012, file photo, St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Chris Carpenter reacts after giving up a triple to San Francisco Giants' Brandon Belt during the second inning of Game 6 of baseball's National League championship series in San Francisco. Carpenter is unlikely to pitch for the Cardinals this season and his career may be over because of a nerve injury that kept him out most of last year, general manager John Mozeliak said Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

  • FILE - In this Oct. 15, 2012, file photo, St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Chris Carpenter sits in the dugout after being taken out of the game during the fifth inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League championship series against the San Francisco Giants in San Francisco. Carpenter is unlikely to pitch for the Cardinals this season and his career may be over because of a nerve injury that kept him out most of last year, general manager John Mozeliak said Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

    FILE - In this Oct. 15, 2012, file photo, St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Chris Carpenter sits in the dugout after being taken out of the game during the fifth inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League championship series against the San Francisco Giants in San Francisco. Carpenter is unlikely to pitch for the Cardinals this season and his career may be over because of a nerve injury that kept him out most of last year, general manager John Mozeliak said Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

  • The truck full of Boston Red Sox baseball gear departs Fenway Park in Boston for Spring Training in Florida on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013. Red Sox fans turned out for 'Truck Day' at Fenway, the day the team sends off its equipment to Florida in preparation for spring training. Pitchers and catchers formally report to spring training a week from today but already, some players have been working out in Fort Myers. (AP Photo/The Boston Herald, Angela Rowlings)  BOSTON GLOBE OUT; METRO BOSTON OUT; MAGS OUT; ONLINE OUT

    The truck full of Boston Red Sox baseball gear departs Fenway Park in Boston for Spring Training in Florida on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013. Red Sox fans turned out for 'Truck Day' at Fenway, the day the team sends off its equipment to Florida in preparation for spring training. Pitchers and catchers formally report to spring training a week from today but already, some players have been working out in Fort Myers. (AP Photo/The Boston Herald, Angela Rowlings) BOSTON GLOBE OUT; METRO BOSTON OUT; MAGS OUT; ONLINE OUT

  • FILE - In this Oct. 15, 2012, file photo, St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Chris Carpenter sits in the dugout after being taken out of the game during the fifth inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League championship series against the San Francisco Giants in San Francisco. Carpenter is unlikely to pitch for the Cardinals this season and his career may be over because of a nerve injury that kept him out most of last year, general manager John Mozeliak said Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)
  • FILE - In this March 8, 2012, file photo, Minnesota Twins minor league hitting coach Tom Brunansky, left, works with shortstop Pedro Florimon during batting practice at spring training baseball in Fort Myers, Fla. The Twins are counting on some fresh perspective and insight from the new assistants to help spark a turnaround from consecutive seasons of 99 and 96 losses.  Brunansky, a member of the 1987 World Series championship team, will continue the relationships he's made with some of the younger players in the minor leagues the last few years. Bench coach Terry Steinbach, a Minnesota native who finished his career with the Twins in 1999, will work closely with the catchers.(AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)
  • FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2012, file photo, St. Louis Cardinals' Chris Carpenter wipes his face with a towel in the dugout during the fourth inning of Game 6 of baseball's National League championship series against the San Francisco Giants in San Francisco. Carpenter is unlikely to pitch for the Cardinals this season and his career may be over because of a nerve injury that kept him out most of last year, general manager John Mozeliak said Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)
  • St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, left, listens as general manager John Mozeliak talks about the future of Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter during a baseball  news conference Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013, in St. Louis. The Cardinals announced Carpenter will not pitch in the 2013 season and his future with the club is uncertain due to a lingering injury. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
  • St. Louis Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak speaks about the future of Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter during a baseball news conference Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013, in St. Louis. The Cardinals announced Carpenter will not pitch in the 2013 season and his future with the club is uncertain due to a lingering injury. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
  • St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny talks about the future of Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter during a baseball news conference Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013, in St. Louis. The Cardinals announced Carpenter will not pitch in the 2013 season and his future with the club is uncertain due to a lingering injury. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
  • FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2012, file photo, St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Chris Carpenter reacts after giving up a triple to San Francisco Giants' Brandon Belt during the second inning of Game 6 of baseball's National League championship series in San Francisco. Carpenter is unlikely to pitch for the Cardinals this season and his career may be over because of a nerve injury that kept him out most of last year, general manager John Mozeliak said Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)
  • FILE - In this Oct. 15, 2012, file photo, St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Chris Carpenter sits in the dugout after being taken out of the game during the fifth inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League championship series against the San Francisco Giants in San Francisco. Carpenter is unlikely to pitch for the Cardinals this season and his career may be over because of a nerve injury that kept him out most of last year, general manager John Mozeliak said Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)
  • The truck full of Boston Red Sox baseball gear departs Fenway Park in Boston for Spring Training in Florida on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013. Red Sox fans turned out for 'Truck Day' at Fenway, the day the team sends off its equipment to Florida in preparation for spring training. Pitchers and catchers formally report to spring training a week from today but already, some players have been working out in Fort Myers. (AP Photo/The Boston Herald, Angela Rowlings)  BOSTON GLOBE OUT; METRO BOSTON OUT; MAGS OUT; ONLINE OUT

ST. LOUIS – 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 yesterday that the New Hampshire native 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, a Trinity High graduate, 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.

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