Chris Carpenter injury: Don't expect Dodgers to swoop in ... yet

Dilip Vishwanat

With the longtime Cardinals workhorse out for 2013 and considering retirement, St. Louis might be looking for a replacement starting pitcher. But don't expect a move with the Dodgers to happen anytime soon, if at all.

The biggest news in baseball on Tuesday was that Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter will likely miss the entire 2013 season, as he is still experiencing discomfort and pain while throwing. But even though the Dodgers have eight starting pitchers under contract, don't expect them to be so quick to trade one to St. Louis.

Carpenter missed all of 2012 with thoracic outlet syndrome, which caused nerve problems in his shoulder and required surgery. He informed the club over the weekend that he is still having problems, and is considering retirement.

"Do I envision Carp returning? At this point I would say it’s unlikely, so no," said Cardinals general manager John Mozielak.

But even though the Dodgers have a surplus of starters, they won't be quick to deal. General manager Ned Colletti, in an interview with Mike Ferrin of MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM on Tuesday said the Dodgers aren't willing to move a starter right now because of the uncertainty of Ted Lilly and Chad Billingsley.

Lilly is coming off shoulder surgery and hasn't pitched since May, while Billingsley is attempting to recover from a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow without surgery. Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt hopes Billingsley will be more open during spring training.

"He has to be smart and be open if he feels something so he doesn't push it past the point," Honeycutt told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. "There's a fine line between being really hurt or having something you can deal with. Chad tends to pitch through whatever is going on, and he's not always open about what's going on. He needs to be honest with himself."

While a Dodgers-Cardinals trade might make sense, assuming St. Louis doesn't want to simply stay in house as Mozielak stated on Tuesday and assuming the Cards don't go the free agent route, it would seem more likely to happen later in spring training, when the Dodgers have a better idea of the health of their starting staff.

All eight of them.

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