With Cards' WC chase done, so is Carpenter

Utility man will begin resting shoulder in hopes of avoiding surgery

With Cards' WC chase done, so is Carpenter

ST. LOUIS -- After battling through debilitating shoulder pain for the last several weeks, Matt Carpenter will be shut down for the final series of the Cardinals' season.

The decision to have Carpenter's year end on Thursday came after the Cardinals were eliminated from postseason contention with a 2-1 loss to the Cubs. The utility infielder will undergo another MRI on his ailing right shoulder on Friday to ensure that he hasn't done additional damage to it since an initial scan taken earlier this month revealed inflammation but no structural damage.

Carpenter is confident that, barring any unexpected find on the MRI, he'll be able to heal with rest and not require offseason surgery.

"I think when I get a good [break in the] offseason that this will be something in the past, and I won't have to worry about it," Carpenter said. "I'm almost positive that [surgery] will be something that we'll be able to avoid."

Carpenter acknowledged that his shoulder has been bothering him on-and-off since early this season. But the pain intensified in August, and Carpenter received a cortisone shot on Sept. 5 in an effort to get some temporary relief.

That hardly lasted.

Carpenter has since labored through the month, limiting his pregame work and oftentimes choosing to track pitches instead of take swings. Since returning from a three-game absence in early September, Carpenter has hit .259, but still posted a .459 on-base percentage and 1.052 OPS. He struck out 19 times and drew 20 walks. Manager Mike Matheny often pinch-hit for Carpenter late in games to give him a reprieve.

"There's no question that there were at-bats throughout this last stretch where I wanted to swing, but I felt I had a better chance of walking to get on," Carpenter said. "But that's part of the game. Any way I can be productive, even when you're grinding, and we have a lot of guys playing through stuff, too. I'm not the only guy. But yeah, it makes it tough."

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.