PITTSBURGH -- With Cardinals gear back on, Chris Carpenter seemingly blended in as he walked around the visitors' clubhouse and accompanied pitchers onto the field for pregame work at PNC Park on Thursday.No, the Cardinals Hall of Fame pitcher and two-time World Series champion is not making a comeback --
PITTSBURGH -- With Cardinals gear back on, Chris Carpenter seemingly blended in as he walked around the visitors' clubhouse and accompanied pitchers onto the field for pregame work at PNC Park on Thursday.
No, the Cardinals Hall of Fame pitcher and two-time World Series champion is not making a comeback -- though president of baseball operations John Mozeliak did facetiously ask if he were interested in a bullpen role. Rather, Carpenter reached out to manager Mike Matheny asking if he could join the club on the road to spend time with the current roster of players.
Matheny welcomed the visit, and Carpenter chose the first three days of the team's series in Pittsburgh as the right time.
"I just like having him around," Matheny said of Carpenter, who spent nine seasons with the Cardinals before retiring in 2013. "He's a guy who has one of those impactful personalities. You get guys who have had success with how they go about their business and see how that allows them and their team to have success. And then to get the guy who wants to pass that on, that's just rare. Chris has always been one of those guys."
Carpenter, 42, has slowly increased the time he's spent around the organization since fading mostly from sight in the first few years after his playing career ended. He returned to St. Louis last summer to be induced into the organization's Hall of Fame, and he served as a guest instructor in Spring Training this year.
"It did feel good to be back," Carpenter said. "It was a struggle for the years I got out to watch the game, enjoy the game and be a part of the game. I realized in spring that I'm over that hump. I'm on the other side. When you first get out, you're like, 'Maybe I can still play.' I know I can't still play. And I know that I'm in the other room, not this room [the clubhouse]. But you still have qualities to help and encourage and teach."
Carpenter said it was his understanding that the Cardinals were requesting permission for him to be able to sit in the dugout during the team's series in Pittsburgh. He will return to his home in New Hampshire on Sunday.
The Cardinals expect to hear from Major League Baseball regarding punishment for Matheny's actions in the ninth inning of Wednesday's 5-4 loss to the Red Sox. That word, however, has not yet arrived.
Making contact with an umpire typically results in a suspension, and Matheny did so multiple times while being restrained during his argument with home-plate umpire Chris Segal. During the confrontation, Matheny received his third ejection of the season.
The Cardinals have also not yet received much of an explanation as to why Segal chose to call timeout while reliever John Brebbia was preparing to throw a pitch. It is within the rules for Segal to do so, but it's a call rarely, if ever, made. During their argument, Segal told Matheny that he "needed a break."
A day later, Mozeliak described the whole sequence as "odd."
"Baseball is a funny game," he added. "If you watch it, you never know what you might see. And that certainly was strange."
Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.