Chris Carpenter declines season-ending surgery, will keep pitching

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Chris Carpenter got the diagnosis he didn’t want to hear Friday: thoracic outlet syndrome. Still, he intends to forgo surgery and attempt to work through the nerve problem.

Kenny Rogers, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Noah Lowry are a few of the notable major leaguers to have undergone surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome, a compression of the nerves that can lead to pain in the neck and arm and loss of feeling in the fingers. Tampa Bay’s Alex Cobb was diagnosed last year and missed the rest of the season. Surgery can involve the removal of a rib to take pressure of the nerves, but it doesn’t always.

Carpenter’s plan appears to be to continue his comeback and then undergo surgery in the offseason. He threw a bullpen session today and plans to throw again on Monday. Even if he does  manage to successfully complete a rehab assignment and make it back to the majors, the odds would seem to be against him lasting the season. Still, as long as he can’t make things worth by trying, it’s admirable that he’ll give it a go.

Joey Votto: “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently.”

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We’ve poked fun often at the spring training trope of players showing up to camp in the “best shape of [their] life.” Reds first baseman Joey Votto has turned that entirely on its head. Talking about his offseason, the 2010 NL MVP said, “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently. We did all the testing and I am fatter,” Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto, of course, wasn’t trying to say he’s not in shape; he was just using some of his trademark self-deprecating humor.

Votto did get serious when discussing the state of the rebuilding Reds. As Buchanan also reported, Votto said, “I think we’re starting to get to the point where people are starting to get tired of this stretch of ball. I think something needs to start changing and start going in a different direction. I’m going to do my part to help make that change.”

Votto, 34, is under contract with the Reds through at least 2023, so he still has plenty of incentive to help see the rebuild through. He has been nothing short of stellar over the last three seasons. This past season, he hit .320/.454/.578 with 36 home runs, 100 RBI, and 106 runs scored in 707 appearances across all 162 games. Votto led the majors in walks (134) and on-base percentage and led the National League in OPS (1.032).

Despite Votto’s presence, both FanGraphs and PECOTA are projecting the Reds to put up a 74-88 record. The club had a pretty quiet offseason, expecting to enter 2018 with largely the same roster as last year.