Matt Carpenter made the NL All-Star team three times, launched at least 20 homers four times and played in the postseason six times in his 11 seasons with the Cardinals.
“I think you can make the case that they’re the New York Yankees of the National League,” Carpenter said. “It’s a pretty cool place.”
But his average and production slid the past three years, especially the past two. The Cards didn’t pick up his $18.5 million option last November. Now the 36-year-old infielder/outfielder is returning to St. Louis with the Yankees after fixing his broken swing and regaining his confidence. They will play a three-game series beginning Friday night.
“I’m excited,” Carpenter said. “… Nothing but great memories.”
Carpenter was granted his release from Texas’ Triple-A team May 19 and signed with the Yankees May 26. He’s batting .322 with 15 homers and 36 RBIs in 43 games.
“From my own standpoint, I’m certainly glad I’m playing well and I’m certainly glad I’m on the best team in baseball and getting an opportunity to play for a championship,” Carpenter said. “But I don’t have any ill will to where I’m coming in like, ‘I’m going to stick it to these fans.’ ”
The deal that sent Jordan Montgomery to St. Louis Tuesday really stung another member of the rotation.
“Yeah, that one hurt,” Jameson Taillon said. “It caught me off guard. He was definitely a best friend for me here. I’m going to be in his wedding this offseason. We sat next to each other on the flights and shared a love for bourbon and coffee. We were pretty much inseparable at the field.”
Frankie Montas is scheduled to make his debut start Sunday. The Yankees placed him on the bereavement list Wednesday following the death of his mother-in-law.