Carpenter Keeps Building His Case

Andrew Carpenter could kick back and brood over the fact that even though he's pitched well, others have gotten more time in the majors than he has. Instead, Carpenter just continues to build his case with one good outing after another.

Andrew Carpenter has had just two, short-lived shots at making an impression in the majors. Last season, he threw one inning for the Phillies and this season, added 4 1/3 innings of major league time in Philadelphia. To make his short 2009 stint a little more attractive, Carpenter picked up the win in a rain-shortened emergency start against Washington for his first major league victory.

"It's kind of nice to be able to say that I've got a major league win. I just wish it would have been by pitching six or seven shutout innings," joked Carpenter.

Since then, J.A. Happ has been inserted into the rotation from the Phillies bullpen, Antonio Bastardo was recalled when Brett Myers went on the DL and Kyle Kendrick got the call when the Phillies looked for a long-man to put in their bullpen, although Carpenter wasn't a candidate for that job, because he had pitched seven innings the night before.

"Well, you always want to be the one going up," replied Carpenter when he was asked if he was upset at not getting another shot. "They have reasons for what they do though, and my job is just to pitch as well as I can. I know that if I keep pitching well, I'll get there."

Since his start with the Phillies, Carpenter has started five games and allowed runs in just three of them, going 4-0 with a 0.79 ERA.

This past offseason, after going 9-12 with a 4.59 ERA between three minor league stops, Carpenter realized that he had to do more to put himself in a position to battle for a major league job. Part of that work included hiring a personal trainer, who he spent a lot of time with over the winter.

"I just needed to be in better shape. I realize that a lot of my problems last season were due to conditioning and I didn't want that to happen again," emphasized Carpenter.

The added conditioning has worked well for Carpenter, who is averaging 6.25 innings per outing this season. It's also helped him to keep his mechanics more consistent. "I actually think it helps with just about everything," said Carpenter, who entered the season ranked as the 13th best prospect in the organization by Philly Baseball News.

IronPigs catcher Lou Marson believes that Carpenter has made big strides between last season and this season.

"He almost looks like a different pitcher," said Marson. "He has more confidence in his pitches and isn't afraid to challenge hitters. Plus, he gets good movement on his pitches and he didn't have that consistently last season."

This is going to be an interesting time for Carpenter. Unless one of the big league starters either gets hurt or stumbles badly, Carpenter doesn't figure to get a call to the majors. In fact, the next call that he gets from the Phillies might be to tell him he's been traded. A 24 year old right-hander who is pitching as well as Carpenter could very well be sought after as part of a deal to bring an experienced, top-of-the-line starter from another club in the trade market.

Carpenter has taken the right approach to the season and to being overlooked for a spot in the Phillies rotation. He's simply doing the best thing possible - pitching well - to make a statement about what he may be able to provide in the future either for the Phillies or another club.

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