After going down with a hamstring injury March 1 and suffering a slight setback earlier this week, Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter has cleared his final hurdle before returning to the hill, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is reporting.
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Carpenter, 35, threw around 60 pitches Friday morning with Cardinals hitters standing in the batter's box and said he felt good enough to return to his spot in the spring rotation -- which means he'll take the hill Wednesday against the Tigers.
The right-hander noted he wasn't happy with his command, but his hamstring was just fine.
"You're talking about a minor hamstring injury, not elbow surgery or a sore shoulder (both of which Carpenter has had)," Carpenter told the Post-Dispatch. "I've had way too many other things to concern myself with a slight hamstring. I figured that eventually it would be getting better."
The Cardinals are expecting Carpenter to take three spring starts and then get the ball on opening day March 31.
With Adam Wainwright having undergone Tommy John surgery, Carpenter is alone atop the St. Louis rotation. That's not exactly a new spot for him. He won the Cy Young in 2005 and finished in the top-3 in 2006 and 2009. Last season, Carpenter went 16-9 with a 3.22 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. He's on the downside of his great career, but certainly not finished. If he can stay healthy, a good season should be in line.