For all the times fans may have wondered why Mike Carp wasn’t in the Seattle Mariners lineup against a right-handed pitcher this season, there was a reason.
“They were trying to protect me,” Carp said. “I’d have good days and bad days with my shoulder, and for awhile it got better. Then I hit a plateau.”
On the disabled list from March 29 through April 30 with a sprained right shoulder, Carp came back at less than full strength, thinking continued work and playing time would keep his comeback going.
It didn’t, and this week Carp landed back on the 15-day DL with inflammation in his right shoulder.
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If it had been Carp’s choice, would he have continued playing through the pain?
“It was my choice,” Carp said today. “I went to them and said ‘I’m not playing the way I should, I’m not helping the team and it’s not fair for me to take the job of someone who can help.”
At the plate, in 32 games, Carp batted .137 with four home runs and 12 RBI.
“I’d swing at a pitch I’d normally hit and foul it off,” Carp said. “I had some long at-bats, fouled off a lot of pitches, but my body was trying to protect itself. I’d swing and feel myself pulling off the ball just enough to miss.”
In the field, it was as bad.
“Some days my arm felt great, some days it was worthless. Against the Dodgers last weekend, I made a throw to the plate the went about 90 feet,” he said. “That was it.”
Carp, who will turn 26 later this month, was one of the bright spots a year ago, when he batted .276 with 12 home runs and 46 RBI in 79 games and was named the American Leaague’s August Rookie of the Month.
On opening night in Japan, Carp dove for a ball in left field and injured his shoulder. Nothing has gone right since.
“Part of it is I’d never been hurt before and I didn’t handle it well. I pushed to come back sooner, I tried playing through it. The team knew about it, but I’d have good games, then bad,” Carp said.
“I need rest, period,” he said. “There’s no timetable, but I’d love to be back by the All-Star break, have a great second half for the team.”