Perhaps Chris Carpenter – the OTHER Chris Carpenter, and not the Cy Young Award winning starting pitcher with the St. Louis Cardinals – will one day help the Red Sox bullpen. It will not be anytime soon.
The hard-throwing right-handed reliever who the Sox received from the Cubs as part of the compensation for Theo Epstein is having surgery to remove a bone spur from his elbow and is out indefinitely.
It is uncertain when Carpenter will return, though he did tweet that he is “stayin positive and prepared to work harder than ever to come back as soon as I can this season.”
The Red Sox announced today that they sent Jair Bogaerts, the twin brother of top prospect Xander Bogaerts, to the Cubs as the player to be named later in the Epstein transaction.
A first baseman, Jair Bogaerts has recorded a .227 average with four home runs in 93 Dominican Summer League games over two seasons. Xander Bogaerts is considered a potential major league all-star caliber player who could be moved to third base or the outfield if shortstop phenom Jose Iglesias proves he can hit major league pitching.
Carpenter, who entered the season as the Cubs’ 13th-ranked prospect by Baseball America, was placed on the Red Sox’ 40-man roster after he was acquired. He was slated to open the season at Double-A Portland.
Carpenter hits the mid to high 90s with his fast ball. The 2008 third round pick of the Cubs out of Kent State University made his major league debut last season, posting a 2.79 ERA in 10 games.
Carpenter misses bats with his power arm, but he also struggles with his command, as his seven walks in 9.2 innings with the Cubs last year suggests.
Through the 2010 season, Carpenter was a starting pitcher. His numbers as a minor league starter were impressive, including a 3.16 ERA in 23 starts at Double-A Tennessee in 2010. The Cubs converted him into a reliever last season, when he was effective in Double-A but struggled at Triple-A Iowa (6.53 ERA in 22 games), though he saw success in his brief stint in the majors.
As part of the compensation for Epstein, the Sox also acquired right-handed reliever Aaron Kurcz arrived from the Cubs as the player to be named later earlier in March.
A 11th-round draft pick in 2010 out of junior college, the 21-year-old Kurcz was named a mid-season Florida State League All-Star last season at Class A Daytona Beach. He finished the season with a 5-4 record and a 3.28 ERA. In 32 games, including 12 starts), he logged 82.1 innings, surrenderering 67 hits and striking out 91 with a 1.227 WHIP.
In two professional seasons, Kurcz has a 2.95 career ERA with an impressive 139 strikeouts in 109.2 innings along with a 1.158 WHIP.
Featuring a fast ball that sometimes touches 96 along with a solid slider and a developing change-up, Kurcz is effective against right-handed and left-handed hitters. He will likely open the season at advanced Single-A Salem and projects as a set-up man at the major league level.