09/02/2002 5:41 pm ET
Surgery to end Carpenter's season
Right-hander should be ready for Spring Training
By Spencer Fordin / MLB.com
TORONTO -- Chris Carpenter's season came crashing to a halt
Monday when the Blue Jays revealed he will undergo
season-ending surgery on his right shoulder later in the
week and moved him onto the 60-day disabled list.
Carpenter, Toronto's Opening Day starter, has a small tear
in the labrum of his throwing shoulder. Instead of seeking a
second opinion or trying to strengthen the shoulder without
surgery, the right-hander has opted for arthroscopic surgery
in the hopes that he can be ready by Spring Training.
"It's not the best news. Hopefully, we can go in and get it
taken care of," Carpenter said moments after Toronto's 5-3
loss to the White Sox. "I'm going to talk with the doctor
tomorrow. I don't know how long it's going to be. He's going
to let me know after he goes in and gets it done. I'm going
to get it done and work my butt off to get back as soon as I
"Because everything else is good, except the labrum, I'm
going to hope I'll be back and throwing before Spring
Training. But I really don't know."
The labrum is a lip-like structure of cartilage that
stabilizes the joint. Carpenter said he wasn't sure how he
injured it, and he never thought his injury was as bad as it
turned out to be. He last pitched on Aug. 13 when he had
to leave in the seventh inning because of discomfort in the
Initially, the injury was characterized as looseness in the
shoulder, perhaps because Carpenter wasn't sure how to
explain what he was feeling.
"I just knew that it hurt and it wasn't right," he said. "I
was looking forward to finding out what it was going to be,
but I didn't think there was anything wrong. Unfortunately,
there is. I have one problem and it's the labrum.
"Everything else, they said, is 100 percent and looks great.
I think that I'm going to be fine. I think I'm going to be
back and good as new, and so does everyone else."
This season was especially difficult for Carpenter. It was
interrupted by injuries on three separate occasions. After
his Opening Day start, Carpenter went on the 15-day disabled
list with shoulder tendinitis. After he came back, he made
one start before he was shelved for the same ailment.
Two months later, Carpenter returned to make 11 consecutive
starts before being shut down for the final time.
"I never thought there was anything seriously wrong," said
the former first-round draft pick. "Every time they did
exams and the doctors checked my arm out, there was nothing
there. Then, they saw the MRI and there was something
The most recent test, done last Thursday, revealed the small
tear. Carpenter had a similar test in April, after the first
bout with tendinitis, but the tear wasn't there at that
point. Either that or the doctors couldn't find it. While an
MRI is a good indicator of a pitcher's health, the
definitive test is arthroscopic surgery.
Once the doctor can explore the injury, he can decide the
extent of the damage.
"They are not 100 percent sure of what they'll find but
they're not anticipating anything bad," said Toronto general
manager J.P. Ricciardi. "The doctor says from muscle and
structural testing, and the MRI, that there could be
Carpenter's immediate future is in the capable hands of Dr.
Anthony Miniaci, Toronto's consulting orthopedic surgeon. He
said that he's familiar with Miniaci and he's confident that
he can help correct the problem.
"I decided to go to Dr. Miniaci because he's here, he's
good, I trust him and I've known him since I've been here in
the big leagues," Carpenter said. "He's done a lot of exams
on me. He knows my body, knows my shoulder. He knows
everything about me. After it's done, all my checkups
will be with him. I'm going to stay for the rest of the
season and hopefully watch us play well for the rest of the
Carpenter, 4-5 this season and 49-50 for his career, had
surgery to remove a bone spur in 1999. He said that may
allow him to go into the surgery with a relaxed frame of
mind, but the intensive rehabilitation may be another story.
"It makes it more comfortable having surgery, but I don't
know about the rehab process," he said. "I didn't have to
rehab my shoulder. It's a process that I'm going to have to
work hard at. I plan on doing everything I can to get back
as soon as possible."
Spencer Fordin, who covers the Blue Jays for MLB.com, can
be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This
story was not
subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its