Chris Carpenter hasn’t ruled out pitching this season

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Chris Carpenter underwent season-ending surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome in July and at the time the big question was whether he’d be ready to contribute to the Cardinals next season.

Now it turns out the surgery may not have been “season-ending” after all, because Carpenter has been throwing bullpen sessions recently in attempt to gauge his readiness for 2013 and … well, he’s felt so good that returning this year is suddenly not impossible.

Carpenter threw a 40-pitch bullpen session yesterday, at which point Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post Dispatch asked if he’d be able to pitch this season and the former Cy Young winner replied: “I don’t know. Let’s see what happens.”

Hummel then told Mike Matheny about Carpenter’s response, to which the manager said: “That’s a heckuva answer. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow. It was fun to watch today.”

It’s worth noting that the Cardinals aren’t exactly hurting for rotation depth and in fact just demoted Lance Lynn to the bullpen less than two months after he made the All-Star team as a starter. The odds are obviously stacked against Carpenter making any kind of major impact down the stretch, but then again he’s already made a mockery of the odds with this rapid comeback.

Indians sign Melky Cabrera to a minor league deal

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The Indians have signed free agent outfielder Melky Cabrera to a minor league deal. The pact is pending a physical.

Cabrera, 33, went unsigned this past offseason after putting up a season of .285/.324/.423 with 17 homers and 85 RBI with the White Sox and the Royals.

Cabrera will report to Columbus once he passes his physical and, according to Paul Hoynes, there are no guarantees being made to him that he’ll get playing time. That said, the Indians aren’t getting much outfield production from anyone besides Michael Brantley, and Cabrera’s status as a switch hitter would give Terry Francona some flexibility, so it would not be shocking to see him on the big club after some reps in the minors.