The box score for Chris Carpenter's first rehab start in Class AA Springfield wasn't pretty.
It revealed the 2005 Cy Young Award winner, who is attempting to come back from a nerve issue that has limited him to a handful of starts since the beginning of the 2012 season, allowed six hits and two earned runs in 2 2/3 innings against minor league hitters.
But the box score also revealed that five of the eight hitters that Carpenter retired were strikeouts. So he obviously had some things working. What the box doesn't show is that Carpenter was hitting as high as 94 miles an hour on the radar gun. That's a level he couldn't have hoped to reach last year when he rushed back to the big leagues at the end of the season and made a handful of starts.
If Carpenter can reach the low 90s with no limitations to his mechanics because of weakness in his shoulder, he seems like he ought to have the tools he needs to be successful in the big leagues, regardless of the statistics he produced Monday.
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I am worried less about those stats than I am about how Carpenter will feel physically the next time he starts to throw. It has been characteristic of his injury to feel numb and weak in the shoulder after pitching.
But, whether he makes it or not, it was good to know that Carpenter was pitching on the mound someplace last night, shouting bad words and battling to retire hitters. And when it was all said and done, he walked off the mound in Springfield to a standing ovation.