PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- Chris Carpenter will always carry the tag as the player traded for Theo Epstein.
Carpenter came to the Boston Red Sox organization as compensation for Epstein, who left his post as Red Sox GM last offseason to become the president of baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs. It took the entire winter for the two organizations to settle on the 26-year-old right-handed reliever as compensation.
He thus arrived at spring training in February in Fort Myers, Fla., under unusual circumstances, and he wanted to prove he was worth it. However, he needed surgery to repair bone spurs in his right elbow, which is common for a pitcher who had previously undergone Tommy John surgery. Carpenter had the procedure in 2005.
Once he completed his rehab this season, he joined Triple-A Pawtucket on July 16. He's been extremely consistent with the PawSox, posting a 1-0 record with four saves and a 1.15 ERA.
"As a reliever, that's what they're looking for and that's consistency," Carpenter said. "I feel like I have been pretty consistent so far. I'm not satisfied with where I'm at and I want to try to keep going out there and getting better every time. I feel pretty good with where I'm at right now."
PawSox pitching coach Rich Sauveur has been impressed with Carpenter's work ethic and performance.
"He's been real consistent," Sauveur said. "He's been very, very, very consistent. He's got good stuff."
Because he's been effective, there's a strong possibility the Red Sox will recall Carpenter at some point in September.
"I'd love to see him get up there," Sauveur said. "He got here and did what he had to do."
With the Red Sox all but done for the season, the organization will use the final five weeks of the season to evaluate the players at the big league level in anticipation for the 2013 season. Carpenter will be part of that mix.
"I couldn't tell you," Carpenter said. "We're in a playoff race here, and wherever you're at you want to win. Right now my focus is here and I'm trying to win with these guys and whatever happens, happens."
A season ago, Carpenter made his major league debut with the Cubs after spending the majority of the season at Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa. He worked a total of 10 games (9 2/3 innings) for the Cubs and allowed only three earned runs for a 2.79 ERA in those outings.
It was that experience that gave him the motivation to want to get back to the big leagues as soon as possible. He's almost there.
"You just kind of take a deep breath and you're happy things have worked out with the way they did with the surgery and everything, but baseball's a game where it's so crazy, so up and down," Carpenter said. "I mean, one minute you could be in the big leagues, and the next you could be down here, or lower than this. You've just got to take every day and give everything you've got every day and hopefully things work out."
Although his Red Sox career was derailed a bit due to his early-season surgery, Carpenter is pleased with the progress he's made since becoming the player to be named later in the Epstein deal.
"It was kind of a roller coaster at the beginning, getting traded, then getting injured and having to deal with that," Carpenter said. "It was one of those things where I told myself where I wanted to get back to, and I think it helped last year getting called up and getting a taste of the big leagues. You just have that drive to get back there."