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Cardinals' Carpenter: 'I'm Not Dying, I Just Have A Messed-Up Arm'

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Ever the competitor, Cardinals right-handed pitcher Chris Carpenter isn't entirely ruling out returning to the mound this season.

Carpenter, 37, is battling recurring pain and numbness in his throwing shoulder, as well as discoloration in his hand. The team announced last week that he's unlikely to pitch in 2013.

"I can't pitch with the way that I feel right now," Carpenter said. "It's not fair to anyone."

He plans to rest the arm, and get evaluated by team and outside doctors. He'll continue with weight training and other workouts. And if he's cleared to throw, he will.

"It's an obligation to a ball club that has invested in me," Carpenter said. "And I don't know, maybe I don't ever want it to end."

Carpenter says his arm felt fine during the off-season. He even began throwing earlier than usual, while on a fishing trip with fellow pitcher Roy Halladay. 

"And I was real excited about what was going to happen this year, and how much fun it was going to be coming back and being healthy again, until I threw off the mound and my hand went blue," Carpenter said.

It was the first time that had happened, and it concerned him.

"That has to do with circulation, and we weren't dealing with that before," he said. "I want to be able to use my arm later on in my life."

The right-hander had surgery last July to deal with similar symptoms. He says he won't go through another operation, which would be the ninth of his major league career.

And though he's been asked several times, he won't go down to spring training this year. Instead, for the first time ever, he'll spend spring break with his two children.

"I know that Mike [Matheny, the Cardinals manager] and Mo [GM John Mozeliak] will both look at me like I'm crazy, but I don't want to be a distraction,"  he said. "And two,  I just want to get away and try to evaluate what's going on and make sure that I don't put myself in a situation where all of a sudden I get down there and it's like all right here I go, I'm going to try some more and end up doing something that isn't going to work." 

Carpenter also wasn't sure how much he'd be around the clubhouse during the regular season, either.

"When you're in this situation once, it's hard enough. When you're in it three, four times. it becomes a big pain," he said. "Mentally, physically, it's difficult to come in every day and try to believe that you're a part of it when you're not."

Follow Rachel Lippmann on Twitter: @rlippmann

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.