Chris Carpenter “not very optimistic” about pitching this year

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Chris Carpenter experienced a setback in his rehab last week when the numbness in his hand returned and yesterday the Cardinals right-hander told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com that he’s “not very optimistic” about pitching this season.

And if that happens he will have thrown all of 31 innings for the Cardinals over the span of two full seasons, last pitching in Game 6 of the NLCS in October. Carpenter is an impending free agent and will be 39 years old next April, so not returning this season could mean never returning.

Carpenter hasn’t said a whole lot about his potential plans beyond 2013, but when asked about his status for 2014 he replied: “That’s a great question.”

Roberto Osuna to be the Astros new closer

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When the Astros acquired suspended reliever Roberto Osuna it was viewed as a low-price move to bolster their bullpen. Now, it turns out, it was a move to get a closer. Manager A.J. Hinch said as much today, anyway, telling MLB Network Radio that Osuna is going to get most of Houston’s save chances going forward.

This comes the morning after a late innings loss to the Mariners. The closer who Osuna is going to take over for — Hector Rondon — didn’t even pitch in that game, with the damage coming on a three-run Robinson Cano homer off of Collin McHugh. Rondon has blown saves in two of his last three appearances, however, coughing up runs against the Mariners at home on August 12 and against the A’s this past Friday.

Osuna has made five appearances since joining the Astros, allowing one run, striking out three and walking one in five innings of work. Before that he saved nine games for the Blue Jays prior to his domestic violence suspension.