ST. LOUIS -- With the recent recurrence of numbness in his arm, Chris Carpenter remains unable to throw and uncertain if he will be cleared to do so again anytime soon. He admitted Monday that he was "not very optimistic" about his chances of returning to a mound in 2013.
What that means for 2014 and beyond now becomes the next question.
Carpenter did not speak about that future Monday, but general manager John Mozeliak did say that if Carpenter decides he wants to make a run at a return next season, the organization would discuss a potential fit with the Cardinals. Carpenter will become a free agent at season's end.
"He deserves to be in the conversation," Mozeliak said. "In terms of what next year looks like right now, I think it's really unfair to everybody to start to think through that. But Carp has been a part of this organization for a long time and he deserves that type of respect."
The Cardinals are 125-73 in Carpenter's starts since he signed with the Cardinals before the 2003 season. Though the injuries have been numerous during his tenure -- they delayed his Cards debut until '04 -- Carpenter won 15 or more games during five of the six seasons in which he made at least 20 starts. His winning percentage of .683 is second all-time among Cardinals pitchers with a minimum of 100 starts.
Arm problems, however, have kept Carpenter off the mound most of the past two seasons. He made three regular-season starts after recovering from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery in 2012. This year, additional arm weakness/numbness and back problems have interrupted his attempts to come back. Carpenter had to shut down his throwing program again after his second Minor League rehab start.
Carpenter said he does not anticipate seeking additional medical opinions any time soon. He continues to work through an exercise and rehab program.
Molina happy with improvements in right knee
ST. LOUIS -- Though it remains undetermined as to whether Yadier Molina will be cleared to come off the disabled list when he is eligible on Aug. 15, the Cardinals' injured catcher said Monday that he is pleased with the improvement he has already made. It has been six days since Molina left a game early due to a right knee sprain.
Aside from throwing, Molina has not resumed baseball activities, and neither he, nor general manager John Mozeliak placed a timetable on when he will. Molina continues to treat the inflammation in his right knee through therapy and is limiting his exercises so as not to put added stress on the knee.
Asked if he was optimistic that he would come off the 15-day DL when eligible, Molina said yes.
"Right now, I feel a lot better then I felt last week, and hopefully we keep progressing," he said. "Each day it's getting better."
Based on the doctors' read of an MRI exam last week, Molina does not anticipate needing to have a procedure on his knee after the season. His right knee was already operated on once in 2007.
Molina landed on the DL at a time when he was batting .330 and considered a leading candidate for the National League's Most Valuable Player Award. The Cardinals have defended Molina's heavy workload up until this setback, but will revisit the topic once Molina gets closer to a return.
"We haven't [discussed it], but we obviously have to be smart about it," general manager John Mozeliak said. "A lot of it obviously depends on how these next 10 days play out for us. You think about getting him back into the swing of things, I just think if we decide to go with the three catchers, we have to make sure we utilize those guys moving forward."
No Cards included in MLB's Biogenesis suspensions
ST. LOUIS -- Major League Baseball announced suspensions of 13 players Monday as a result of the league's Biogenesis investigation. No one from the Cardinals' organization was named on that list.
"Until that list came out, we didn't know for sure," general manager John Mozeliak said. "We definitely were nervous because we didn't want to see it happen. Luckily for us, we didn't."
Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez received the stiffest penalty -- a 211-game ban without pay through the end of the 2014 regular season. Rodriguez, 38, has appealed the suspension, which is set to begin Thursday. His case will be heard by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz.
Rodriguez's discipline, MLB said in its written announcement, is based on his use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including testosterone and human growth hormone, over the course of multiple years. Rodriguez's discipline under the Basic Agreement is for attempting to cover up his violations of the program by engaging in a course of conduct intended to "obstruct and frustrate" the investigation.
The other players who were handed 50-game suspensions include Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta, Mariners catcher Jesus Montero, Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera, Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli, Phillies reliever Antonio Bastardo and recently demoted Mets utility man Jordany Valdespin. Minor Leaguers Fernando Martinez, Jordan Norberto, Fautino de los Santos, Cesar Puello and Sergio Escalona were also suspended.
"I think it takes big decisions, tough decisions, in order to make big changes," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "Unfortunately, this is going to be a black eye to our game, but it's part of the steps moving forward. It's obviously big news and one of the days in baseball that will be marked down as a monumental day.
"It's not something we're proud of that this is going on in the game in this era -- much like the era when I played, when there was so much steroid talk. You hate that being the title of the time when you played the game. There are a vast majority of guys who are doing things the right way who get lumped in. Overall, I think guys are happy to see it come to a head and that it's over with."
Robinson expects to return from DL when eligible
ST. LOUIS -- Shane Robinson, who went on the disabled list last Wednesday with a right shoulder strain, resumed hitting Monday and said afterward that he felt only minimal discomfort in his shoulder.
Though Robinson has not yet resumed throwing, he has every expectation of being ready to come off the disabled list on Aug. 15, his first day of eligibility.
"I can obviously feel a little bit of dull pain in there, but it's nothing that's worrying me," Robinson said. "I was worried at first when it first happened because of my history with injuries, but it didn't feel like my other shoulder. From the beginning, it wasn't too big of a deal. The doctors and trainers looked at everything, and it just looks like I aggravated it and there is some swelling."
Robinson's last shoulder injury was indeed more severe. A dislocation of his left shoulder in May 2008 cost Robinson the rest of that season. Robinson suffered this strain sliding back into first on a pick-off attempt in the first game of last Tuesday's doubleheader against Pittsburgh.
He continues to treat the injury with ice and anti-inflammatory medicine, and has not yet been told of plans to go out on a rehab assignment.
"Knock on wood, it's a good thing that it wasn't anything serious," Robinson said. "I was kind of scared there for a minute."
• According to Mozeliak, top prospect Oscar Taveras traveled to the Dominican Republic for two days to take care of a family matter. Taveras, who has been rehabbing a high right ankle sprain in Florida, is expected to need another 10 days before being cleared to resume playing in games. He is still being advised not to put a lot of weight on the ankle.
• The Cardinals' Class A Advanced Palm Beach affiliate swept the Florida State League's Player and Pitcher of the Week awards Monday. First baseman Jonathan Rodriguez earned Player of the Week honors after going 12-for-26 with three doubles, three homers, nine RBIs and four walks in seven games. Teammate Ryan Sherriff, who won the pitching accolade, took a no-hitter into the ninth during his start Saturday. He settled for a one-hit shutout. Sherriff has allowed one earned run over his last 26 1/3 innings.
• Right-hander Dixon Llorens was named the Pitcher of the Week for Class A Peoria in the Midwest League. He pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings of relief last week and converted two save opportunities. Llorens struck out eight and allowed only two hits. He has 52 strikeouts in 35 innings with this season.
• The Cardinals entered Monday having scored 44 runs during a four-game span for only the fourth time since 1962. Before ending an 11-game road trip with that offensive explosion, it had last happened from April 13-16, 2011.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.