Carpenter won't pitch in opening round of playoffs

Friday, October 1, 2004

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa on Thursday officially counted right-hander Chris Carpenter out of the first round of the playoffs.

Carpenter, 15-5 with a 3.46 ERA, has been sidelined with nerve damage in his right biceps since Sept. 18. He had hoped to miss only one start before a medical exam last week revealed the problem.

"He's still not normal," La Russa said. "He's not even factoring into the first round."

The team was somewhat optimistic Carpenter could be available if the NL Central champion Cardinals win in the division series.

"I guess it'll improve little by little," La Russa said. "He's feeling better."

Before the injury, Carpenter had made a strong rebound after missing all of last season and most of 2002 with a shoulder injury that required two operations.

La Russa had a closed-door meeting with the other four starters to inform them of the postseason rotation, but wasn't ready to make a public announcement yet.

Second baseman Tony Womack, who got a scare when he was hit on the left wrist by a pitch on Monday, feels good enough to play the final weekend of the regular season. Womack was cleared to play by the team's medical staff on Thursday, and La Russa said Womack would be in the lineup tonight.

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