The Cardinals Major League Notebook 11/07

Right-hander Chris Carpenter, bugged by elbow and shoulder problems for the past two seasons, did have surgery after all. But it involved a transposition of a nerve near his right elbow and, so far, not his shoulder, which also had a nerve disorder late in the 2008 season.

The surgery was considered identical to the one performed in the area of the right elbow for first baseman Albert Pujols, who already has said he would be ready for spring training. General manager John Mozeliak said, "I don't think (the surgery) makes it any more or less likely that Carp will be available to start next season. "Yes, it's an invasive procedure. But it doesn't change anything. Right now, we don't know."

Thus, the Cardinals probably still are in the market for a starting pitcher, although not likely on the high-end scale of a CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett or Jake Peavy.

Carpenter earlier had ruled out surgery for the nerve issue in his shoulder when it was suggested that surgery would constitute more of a risk than not having it. While Mozeliak earlier had been optimistic that Carpenter would be all right by the start of spring training, pitching coach Dave Duncan wasn't so sure.

Duncan, after being apprised of the surgery by a reporter, said, "Until Carp proves himself to be healthy and capable of doing what he needs to do within the rotation, you can't figure on his availability,

"You may be able to look at him in some kind of relief role."

An internal option would be to move impressive rookie right-hander Kyle McClellan from the bullpen into the rotation.


--General manager John Mozeliak is entertaining all trade options, even to the point of moving regular OFs Rick Ankiel or Ryan Ludwick in an effort to shore up pitching and the middle infield. But, Mozeliak said, "Not to be coy, but (an Ankiel-Ludwick scenario) is one of 100 variables that are factoring into this." Mozeliak said there was "a high likelihood" that Ankiel and Ludwick both would remain with the club.

--Repeating something he had said the week before, Mozeliak said it was "highly plausible" that CF Colby Rasmus, the club's top prospect, would be on the Opening Day roster although he had a sub-par, injury-plagued season in his first year at the Class AAA level.

--C Yadier Molina was honored with his first Gold Glove although he made a career-high 10 errors last season.

"This was my worst season defensively," Molina said. "My percentage (32 percent) of throwing out runners was low, and I committed 10 errors. That's not a good season for me. Next year, I have to go out there and put up a better season."

--Reports are that LF Chris Duncan is recovering from surgery on a disk in his neck last summer, and he should be able to participate fully in spring training.

--To fill a couple of holes in their left-handed relief corps, the Cardinals are believed to be interested in free agents Jeremy Affeldt and Arthur Rhodes.

BY THE NUMBERS: 73 -- Record number of Gold Gloves won by Cardinals players.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Every game I try to be perfect. I don't want to commit any errors. I want to throw everybody out." -- Gold Glove-winning C Yadier Molina.

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