Chris Carpenter returns tomorrow against the Braves to make his first start after last year’s Tommy John surgery. (BTW, if Tommy John hadn’t had the surgery that made him famous, he might not have missed two years in his prime and he might have won 300 games, which would’ve made him famous for what he would have wanted to be famous for. This is a better definition of irony than 10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife. Why didn’t Alanis sing about Tommy John? Just another question to ponder as you take a crap. BTW II, if Tommy John didn’t have the surgery, he probably wouldn’t have even came close to 300 games won, so this might all be moot. But I digress.) So what kind of Carpenter predictions are we looking at for the rest of 2008? Could Carpenter return and win a Cy Young in the final two months of the season? Sure, if every other starting pitcher comes down with a Casey Kotchman case of mono. Carpenter, “Pucker up, Kotchman, I need you to kiss some people. Sloppy-like!” Since Carpenter returns from Tommy John surgery, it makes his predictions a bit easier to foresee than other possible injuries, like, say Jockular Sphincteritis.
Pitchers returning from Tommy John surgery usually return 12-18 months after the surgery to yawnstipating results. Sometimes they return to gut-wrenching results, see Francisco Liriano’s April. And even when pitchers return after 12-18 months, they usually can’t be counted until the following year. But what about Carpenter specifically? He’s already been sidelined for an entire season (2003) and returned to solid results only 12 months later. While that was an arm injury, it was not Tommy John surgery. Not to mention, Carpenter is five years older now. So I see no reason why Carpenter avoids the same fate as most Tommy John recipients. Predictions for Carpenter – A couple of promising starts, a couple of awful starts. Hope for beautiful music, but don’t be afraid to purge.