ST. LOUIS — Chris Carpenter isn't throwing in the towel, but he won't be throwing a baseball in the immediate future.
The St. Louis Cardinals right-hander said Monday that he will postpone a decision on his future until a more thorough evaluation of his arm injury is completed.
"Definitely, I think there is a little bit of hope there," Carpenter, 37, said in a morning news conference at Busch Stadium.
"(But) if my arm is what it is like now, at some point in time, you've got to be like, 'All right, enough is enough.' You can only push it so much. I can't pitch with the way I feel right now. It's not fair to anyone."
Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak and manager Mike Matheny announced last Tuesday that Carpenter probably would be sidelined for the season after he experienced numbness in his arm and discoloration in his hand after four bullpen sessions.
"Obviously, it was news that 'Mo' and the organization and myself weren't expecting," Carpenter said. "But it is what it is. I've got to figure out what's going on. When our physicians get back here, I'm going to go in and get re-evaluated."
Carpenter will be examined when team Cardinals doctors return to St. Louis after performing physicals on players in spring training in Jupiter, Fla. That examination could determine Carpenter's future, particularly if doctors believe another procedure is necessary.
"I can tell you I'm not going to have surgery again," said Carpenter, who is owed $12.5 million this season. "I'll do anything else, but after the last one ... If there are some issues that require me to go have surgery again, I'm not doing it."
Carpenter has no plans to go to spring training because he doesn't want to be a distraction to the team.
"One, I'm obviously not ready to go down there and throw," Carpenter said. "Mike and Mo and a lot of the guys, teammates, have texted me and asked me to come down. I know Mike and Mo will both look at me like I'm crazy, but I don't want to be a distraction.
"Two, I want to get away and just try to evaluate what's going on and make sure I don't put myself in a situation where all of a sudden I go down there and it's like, 'OK, here I go,' and end up doing something that isn't going to work."
Carpenter also said it's unlikely he will be around much during the regular season to serve as a mentor to younger pitchers like Trevor Rosenthal, Joe Kelly and Shelby Miller.
"That's been said to me," Carpenter said of the team's desire for him to influence its younger pitchers. "But right now, in my mind, I'm not ready to do that. ... In my mind right now, I need to figure out what's going on, because mentally, it's tough.
"When you're in this situation once, it's hard enough. When you're in it three, four times, it becomes a big pain. Mentally, physically, it's difficult to come in every day and try to believe you're a part of it when you're not."
Carpenter said he can't imagine using the "R" word.
"I don't think I'll ever retire," he said. "I'll never say that word. There might always be hope. Maybe when I'm 48 I can come back and do it some more."
Carpenter is continuing to keep his body in competition mode.
"I'm going to continue to work out and continue to do the things to keep myself in shape," he said. "If I feel like I can start throwing again and I'm cleared to start throwing again, I'm sure I probably will.
"I'm not dying. I just have a messed-up arm a little bit. We're going to figure it out and see if I can continue."
Carpenter began feeling numbness and tingling in his right arm during spring training last year. He underwent thoracic outlet surgery July 19 in Dallas, a procedure in which Dr. Gregory Pearl removed Carpenter's first rib to relieve pressure on the nerve that was causing the numbness and tingling.
Carpenter returned from surgery and made six starts --three in the regular season, three in the postseason. He said Monday he didn't notice an increase in arm strength from start to start.
"I came back and wasn't 100 percent at the end of the year," Carpenter said. "But I definitely felt like, going into the offseason, that with rest and continued strengthening and all those things, I was going to get better and feel better. Unfortunately, it didn't happen."
Carpenter said the hand discoloration, which occurred after his first bullpen, was troubling.
"The hand thing kind of concerned me a little bit because that has to do with circulation, and we weren't dealing with that before," he said. "We were dealing with nerve stuff. I want to be able to use my arm later on in my life."
Still, Carpenter pushed on, throwing three more bullpens before telling Mozeliak that he couldn't proceed.
"My arm felt pretty good," Carpenter said. "My hand was a little messed up, so I was like, 'Maybe it's just getting back into the routine.' I decided to go out and try (again), and it's continued to go downhill. The fourth one, I was throwing the ball at 70 percent and I had no idea where it was going. My arm was numb. It was numb for 2 1/2 hours after I got done throwing."
Carpenter is 144-94 in a 15-year career, including 95-44 with the Cardinals. He won the National League Cy Young Award in 2005 when he was 21-5 with a 2.83 ERA in 33 starts, with seven complete games. Carpenter led the NL in ERA at 2.24 in 2009.
Contact reporter David Wilhelm at email@example.com or 239-2665.