PAWTUCKET - Chris Carpenter had passed both of his physical examinations, first with the Chicago Cubs and then with the Boston Red Sox, and was prepared to embark upon a new adventure in his pitching career.
But, in his first spring training outing for the Red Sox, Carpenter issued three walks and was tagged for four earned runs.
Less than a week later, it was discovered that he had a bone spur in his right (throwing) elbow and during the first week of April, underwent surgery in Birmingham, Ala., performed by noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews.
"I had been through rehab before, it's always frustrating," said the 26-year old Carpenter, after making his second appearance in the uniform of the Pawtucket Red Sox Tuesday night at McCoy Stadium.
Nate Spears extended his hitting streak to five games with three hits, including a bases-loaded triple during a six-run sixth inning and Ryan Lavarnway clubbed his eighth homer of the season, a solo shot to lead off the frame, as the PawSox won for the second straight night over Syracuse 8-3.
Carpenter came on to pitch a 1-2-3 eighth inning, needing just nine pitches to retire the No. 4, 5 and 6 batters in the Chiefs' order with a pair of strikeouts.
While at Kent State University, in 2005 Carpenter underwent Tommy John surgery. A year later he underwent surgery to correct some nerve issues in his right arm.
"It's always frustrating, getting injured after just getting traded and you're trying to show people what you can do," said Carpenter, the compensation package for the Cubs having former Boston GM Theo Epstein join their staff.
Ironically, sitting next door to Carpenter in the PawSox clubhouse is another Chicago product, from the other side of town, former White Sox pitcher Zach Stewart, the lone piece of the package left that Boston has left from the Kevin Youkilis trade.
"It took a lot of hard work to come back," said Carpenter. "I had surgery before, I wasn't blind to it (the recovery process and time frame). Tommy John surgery, coming back from that, was a struggle.
"The rehab went as planned, everything went as planned and still is - I feel good, you want to come back strong," he continued. "It was my third elbow surgery, I started feeling good pretty soon - I had range of motion in the first week, not my full range, but I could move it around, I wasn't in a brace or anything like that.
"It just took time to let everything heal, taking time to let it heal, then getting the rest of your body ready."
Carpenter pitched six innings en route to the AAA level, with the Gulf Coast Rookie Red Sox, with Class A Greenville and then with Class AA Portland.
In his PawSox debut Monday, Carpenter faced just three batters in the sixth inning. After issuing a walk to the first Syracuse batter that he faced, Carpenter then got two ground balls, including a double-play ball, having to throw just 10 pitches.
"We know that he's a hard thrower," said PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler. "Hopefully, he's healthy. He's got a good arm, we'll let him throw and get his work in, see what he's going to do and get through the season."
Carpenter will have to be activated from the 60-day disabled list, of which he is on now during his rehab assignment in Pawtucket, within 10 days and then be optioned to the PawSox. That will require Boston moving a player from its 40-man roster to make room for Carpenter.
"Coming back from surgery, you don't want to change the way you throw - you want to keep everything the same," said Carpenter, who made 10 relief appearances with the Cubs last year.
"You always want to prove yourself, whether you're a seasoned veteran or a rookie," added Carpenter. "You have to go out there and do your best - I can never be content."
With the MLB trading deadline looming for July 31, already there is conjecture that Boston will trade C Kelly Shoppach to the Mets and call up Ryan Lavarnway from the PawSox ... With Dustin Pedroia slated to come off the DL list Thursday, the PawSox will likely welcome back Pedro Ciriaco ... SS Jose Iglesias drove in two runs with a SF in the fifth and a single in the sixth; J.C. Linares had three hits, his eighth multi-hit game in just 21 games since being promoted from Portland; Alex Hassan was hit by a pitch for a team-high seventh time in the seventh inning, forcing in run No. 8; ... PawSox starting pitcher Doug Mathis (7-6) allowed five hits and just one earned run over six-plus innings, the ninth time he has gone six innings or more ... The on-field, pre-game batting practice temperature was 110 degrees ...Tonight is PawSox "Cap Night" with the first 4,000 patrons receiving headwear ... The PawSox complete their four-game set with Syracuse at noon Thursday, then have a team sailing excursion on Narragansett Bay out of Newport planned that evening.