"When you look at how Carp was throwing, it was screaming that this deserved an opportunity for consideration."
That’s what Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak told MLB.com regarding the sudden possibility that Chris Carpenter could make a late-season return this season. Carpenter was considered out for the year after undergoing surgery in mid-July in order to alleviate the symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome. But, he threw two simulated innings last Friday and is scheduled for another simulated game Tuesday.
Not only is it looking likelier that he’ll be back, but the Cards would plan on using Carp as a starter. Having missed all season, he still obviously needs to build up his stamina, and he could be used in a “piggyback” situation initially upon his return. Joe Kelly, Lance Lynn, Trevor Rosenthal and Shelby Miller would all be options to follow Carp in this scenario.
"Given the guys we have now in our bullpen, you can see some sort of piggyback scenario if it worked out that way," Mozeliak said. "He has to build up his pitch count. Given the fact he hasn't been able to throw much prior to surgery, he does feel good. It looks like he's on track to contribute. We're hopeful that's what happens."
Carpenter estimated that he threw 36 pitches last Friday, and he should up that total a bit Tuesday. With the minor league season drawing to a close, he’ll have to build up his stamina through simulated games. That means if he does return to game action later this month, it will be his first since Game 7 of last year’s World Series.
It might be too much to ask for Carp to be a big help to fantasy teams in the final weeks, but he’s nonetheless worthy of a speculative roster stash.
When Dan Uggla batted just .185 before the All-Star break last season, the Braves stuck with him and were rewarded with a monster second half that saw him hit .296 with 21 homers. With Uggla again struggling to hit his weight, the Braves this time around have decided to pull the plug.
Martin Prado started at second base for the second straight game Monday, and he’s expected to receive the bulk of the playing time there until further notice.
The Braves would be able to stomach Uggla’s .208 batting mark if it came with his trademark power, but the pop just hasn’t been there on a regular basis this season. His 17 homers are 10 fewer than the lowest single-season total of his career, and his .373 slugging percentage is the fifth-lowest mark in the National League among qualified batters.
“It’s not a doghouse situation,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It’s a situation where you feel like you need to do something for the team and for the name on the front of the uniform. And it’s hard. It’s not easy, because of the relationship. If it was a guy that I met two months ago, you don’t even think about it.”
It’s possible Uggla will get hot and regain his job, but for now the Braves on most days will go with Prado at second base and Jose Constanza or Reed Johnson in left field.
National League Quick Hits: Joey Votto (knee) might not be activated from the disabled list Tuesday as originally anticipated. He hasn’t had a setback, but the Reds are virtually assured of a playoff spot already and don’t want to rush him back. Triple-A Louisville’s season is over, so Votto would have to go somewhere else to continue his rehab ... Andrew Cashner will rejoin the Padres’ rotation Friday. He’s been out since early July with a strained lat ... Kris Medlen’s dominance continued Monday, as he struck out a career-high 12 Rockies hitters while recording his second complete game in the last few weeks. Medlen boasts a 0.59 ERA since the All-Star break ... Carlos Quentin was scratched from Monday’s lineup due to a sore knee. He pinch-hit, though, and could be back in there Tuesday ... Rafael Furcal will get a platelet-rich plasma injection for his right elbow and rehab the injury rather than undergo surgery. There’s an outside chance that he’ll return later this year ... Huston Street (calf) remains without a timetable following his setback last week. Luke Gregerson, who blew a save Monday, will continue to close for the Padres ... J.J. Putz blew his second straight save Monday in a crushing loss to the Giants. He had been pitching extremely well before the recent hiccup ... Sean Burnett is currently unavailable for the Nationals due to irritation in his left elbow. It’s something that’s bothered him since around the All-Star break ... Chad Billingsley could receive a second platelet-rich plasma injection in his ailing right elbow. The first one has helped, but obviously not enough to where he can resume throwing ... Chris Young left Monday’s game with a quad injury. He’s considered day-to-day.
American League Quick Hits: Jered Weaver could miss his next start due to tenderness in his right shoulder. He suffered the injury in his last start when he was hit by a comebacker. He shouldn’t miss more than just the one start, if he misses any at all ... Gavin Floyd (elbow) had a successful bullpen session Monday and will throw again Thursday, when he’ll mix in breaking pitches. Floyd is hoping to be activated when first eligible ... Robinson Cano could sit out Tuesday’s game because of tightness in his left hip. The Yankees are considering him day-to-day ... Evan Longoria left Monday’s game with what the Rays are calling fatigue. The stud third baseman expects to be back in the lineup Tuesday ... Yu Darvish carried a perfect game through 5 2/3 innings and wound up allowing three runs on just three hits and a walk over seven frames in Monday’s win over the Royals. Darvish has now put up four straight quality starts following a rough patch in August ... Colby Rasmus went 0-for-4 in Monday’s loss to the Orioles and is now batting just .168 with 52 strikeouts over 176 plate appearances in the second half ... J.P. Arencibia (hand) is expected to rejoin the Blue Jays’ lineup this weekend. Arencibia has been sidelined since July 25 with a fractured hand ... Jeff Niemann has been diagnosed with a slight strain of his right rotator cuff. The big right-hander wasn’t expected to be a regular part of the Rays’ rotation down the stretch, anyway, and now they seem likely to shut him down ... Adam Dunn (oblique) returned to the lineup Monday and went 1-for-3 with a double and a walk in a win over the Twins.