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Prior to playing professionally, Carrithers attended Oregon Episcopal School (though he played for Beaverton High School, as Oregon Episcopal did not field a baseball team) and then University of California-Santa Barbara, before settling at UCLA. He hit .285 in 44 games as a college freshman at the University of California-Santa Barbara and .342 in 53 games as a sophomore. He was second in the Big West Conference in on-base percentage with a .465 mark in 2006, .002 behind Evan Longoria. He led the conference in walks with 45 and was third in runs scored with 60. A second baseman at the time, he formed a double play combination with Buster Posey for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox of the Cape Cod League, hitting .268 with 20 runs in 37 games. He transferred to UCLA for his junior year.
He hit .352 in 61 games his first year at UCLA, though he hit only .198 for the Orleans Cardinals in the Cape Cod League. His Cape Cod League double play partner that year was his UCLA teammate, Brandon Crawford. As a senior at UCLA he batted .377 with 51 runs and 47 RBI in 59 games. He was named the team MVP. He and Cord Phelps were the All-Pac-10 second basemen.
He was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 15th round of the 2008 Major League Baseball draft, with the signing scout being Tim McWilliam, and played in their system through 2010. In his first professional year, 2008, he hit .316 with 16 steals in 17 attempts and 28 walks; he also handled 155 chances without an error in 39 games for the GCL Tigers. He led Gulf Coast League second basemen in fielding percentage. He split 2009 between the Oneonta Tigers and the West Michigan Whitecaps, hitting a combined .298 with 10 stolen bases in 50 games. In 2010, he played for the Lakeland Flying Tigers and the Erie SeaWolves, hitting .312 while scoring 70 times, stealing 17 bases in 25 attempts and drawing 78 walks in 119 games. Despite hitting .309 in his three years in the Tigers organization, he was released in March 2011.
The Chicago White Sox signed him for the 2011 campaign, and he hit .276 with 51 walks to 33 strikeouts and 19 stolen bases in 22 attempts for the Birmingham Barons. Chicago released him during the following offseason to make room for signees Osvaldo Martínez and Ray Olmedo. The Atlanta Braves signed him and he played for the 2012 Mississippi Braves, hitting .315 in 74 games. In 2013, he hit a combined .284 with 16 stolen bases in 102 games split between Mississippi and the Triple-A Gwinnett Braves. He was granted free agency by the Braves after the 2013 season and signed with the Athletics. On January 20, 2016 he signed a minor league contract with the Cincinnati Reds but was released on March 23, 2016.