Carpenter boosts Strasburg's spirits

Carpenter boosts Strasburg's spirits

WASHINGTON -- Before talking to the media on Friday about having Tommy John surgery, Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg had a conversation with Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter, who had elbow reconstruction in early 2007.

After pitching in one game that year, Carpenter didn't play in another Major League game until July of the following year. After returning to the mound, Carpenter was on a pitch count for the rest of the season. In 2009, Carpenter was not on a pitch count and went on to have one of his better seasons, going 17-4 with a 2.24 ERA with St. Louis. This season, Carpenter is 14-4 with a 2.93 ERA.

For Strasburg, it's going to take 12 to 18 months to recover from elbow reconstruction. Carpenter told Strasburg to stay strong and work hard.

"I know it's a disappointing and frustrating situation, but he will be OK," Carpenter said about Strasburg. "He has a smart head. It seems like he worked hard to get where he has been at. He has a nice head on top of him.

"I told him to work hard. The stronger you are going into it, the better that you are. Once he gets over the shock of missing some time, he needs to start working and do what he can to get back."

In his rookie season, Strasburg pitched in 12 games and went 5-3 with a 2.91 ERA for the Nationals before going on the disabled list earlier this week because of the elbow injury.

"I watched him on TV and he is an exceptional talent," Carpenter said. "But unfortunately, [injuries] like this happen in the game. Guys get hurt. Guys work hard and get back and have success. He is going to be fine."