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.
Long-time rotation mainstay Tom Koehler was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans on Monday and reliever Hunter Cervenka was recalled, the Marlins announced.
Koehler, 31, made 131 starts out of the Marlins’ rotation over the last five years, but his 12 this season have not been good, so the club hopes he can figure things out with a stint in the minors. He’s carrying a 7.92 ERA with a 44/29 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. Koehler battled bursitis in his right shoulder in May and June, which may partially explain his struggles.
Cervenka, 27, posted a 4.50 ERA with a 34/21 K/BB ratio in 34 innings of relief with New Orleans. He hasn’t pitched in the majors yet this season, but compiled a 3.53 ERA over 43 1/3 innings in the bigs last year in the Marlins’ bullpen.
At the trade deadline, relief pitching is the name of the game and one of the names clearly available is Pat Neshek. Today Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the Nationals, Dodgers, and Red Sox are among the clubs who are closely scouting the Phillies reliever. Last week Ken Rosenthal reported that the Brewers and Rays were involved as well.
Neshek is an impending free agent, so he may come cheaper than Justin Wilson or some of the other bullpen arms available right now. The All-Star is 36 and is posting a fantastic season, featuring a 1.12 ERA and 45/5 K/BB ratio over 40.1 innings this season.