Cardinals exercise option on Carpenter

Saturday, November 6, 2004

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Cardinals on Friday exercised the $2 million option on right-hander Chris Carpenter, a comeback player who during a career season emerged as the team's ace before missing the playoffs with arm trouble.

If the Cardinals had declined the option on Carpenter, who last season made $650,000 in salary and bonuses, the club could have paid him a $200,000 buyout.

In 28 starts, 29-year-old Carpenter went 15-5 -- a career high in wins -- with a 3.46 ERA, striking out 152 and walking 38 over 182 innings. His .750 winning percentage ranked second in the National League, and his 2.82 ERA after the All-Star break ranked fourth in the league.

In helping lead the Cardinals to the best regular-season record in the major leagues, Carpenter would have been the team's top starter in the playoffs had he not been lost with nerve damage to his right biceps on Sept. 18, the day the Cardinals clinched the NL Central.

Without him, the Cardinals won the NL pennant but were swept by Boston in the World Series.

The season was a brilliant comeback for Carpenter, who missed 20 months -- all of the 2001 season and most of 2002 -- while recuperating from a pair of shoulder operations. The 6-foot-6, 230-pounder was named the NL's Comeback Player of the Year by The Sporting News and Major League Baseball's Players Choice Awards.

Berkman tears up knee

HOUSTON -- Houston Astros outfielder Lance Berkman may miss the start of next season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee while playing flag football.

Berkman will have surgery within 10 days, the Astros said Friday, and will need five to six months to recover. The injury occurred during a church-related function, new Astros general manager Tim Purpura said.

A three-time NL All-Star, Berkman hit .316 this season with 30 homers and 106 RBIs. Berkman, who made his major league debut in 1999, has a .303 career average with 156 homers and 535 RBIs.

Herr to try managing

LANCASTER, Pa. -- Former St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Tom Herr was hired Friday as the first manager of the Lancaster Barnstormers of the independent Atlantic League.

Herr, a Lancaster native, had a 13-year Major League career with five teams, most notably the Cardinals from 1979-1988. His best season came in 1985, when he batted .302 with 110 RBIs, 97 runs scored and was named to the All-Star team.

Herr also played with Minnesota, Philadelphia, New York and San Francisco.

Beltran seeks 10-year deal

HOUSTON -- Astros free agent center fielder Carlos Beltran is seeking a 10-year contract, his agent Scott Boras told a television station on Thursday.

Only a handful of teams will be able to afford the 27-year-old All-Star's soaring price tag -- the New York Yankees likely chief among his suitors. The Chicago Cubs were also said to be interested.

Astros owner Drayton McLane told the station that the club will not receive the financial parameters from Boras until next week and won't respond until then.

Washington considers new site

WASHINGTON -- The chair of the District of Columbia Council proposed Friday that a new ballpark be built next to RFK Stadium instead of a site south of the U.S. Capitol, a plan that could cause Major League Baseball to drop the scheduled move of the Montreal Expos to Washington.

Council Chair Linda Cropp made the proposal to cut costs for the new ballpark, which she estimates would be $600 million on the original site, far above the estimate in the $435 million deal Mayor Anthony A. Williams signed in September.

-- From wire reports

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