Q&A with Chris Carpenter

Resilient Chicago Cubs pitching prospect Chris Carpenter continued his steadfast comeback from Tommy John surgery last season in the short-season Low Class-A Northwest League.

Carpenter, 23, was selected by Chicago in the third round of the 2008 draft from Kent State, where three years earlier he underwent Tommy John surgery and then ulnar nerve transposition in 2006.

The right-hander returned to the mound in 2007 and then made 13 starts with the Golden Flashes in 2008, posting a 6-2 record and 3.81 ERA in a career-high 75 2/3 innings. He led his team with 88 strikeouts.

Upon signing with the Cubs, Carpenter made his professional debut on July 9 in the Arizona Rookie League before advancing to Boise. He made 10 appearances including six starts and finished with a 4.22 ERA in 32 innings with the club.

Carpenter entered 2009 ranked as the No. 17 prospect in the Cubs' system by Scout.com.

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Q: How did your arm feel last year coming off the break in between the end of your college season and the start of your pro career? A: My arm felt great all year. I was able to throw a few bullpens to stay fresh in between the two seasons, plus the month off (gave) me a little chance to sort of rest my arm. Although the college season is not as long as (the pro season), it still takes a toll on your arm if you aren't careful.

Q: How much of a pitch count limit were you on last season?

A: It was different every time out. Every time out, my pitch limit was increased a little.

Q: You walked 22 batters in 32 innings. What do you feel you need to do to be more consistent around the strike zone, and is that the biggest thing you're looking to improve on?

A: I just need to be more aggressive in the strike zone and trust my stuff. When you try to make perfect pitches early in the count and fall behind hitters, it is difficult to be successful. This year, my main goal is to get ahead of hitters and then have the ability to use all my pitches.

Q: How has your first spring training gone, and what have you worked on in camp?

A: Spring Training has (gone) very smooth. Coming in here not really knowing what to expect was a big question for me, but as long as you do what you are told and are always on time, I have realized you will be fine. In camp, I have worked mostly on commanding all of my pitches. I haven't made any changes in my mechanics. I just need to be confident that I can throw any pitch for a strike at any time.

Q: What is your repertoire at the moment?

A: I throw a four-seam and two-seam fastball along with a power curveball and change.

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