ST. LOUIS -- Earlier this week, Chris Carpenter jokingly noted that he wasn't sure where he would be needed if he is able to return and pitch for the Cardinals this season. Now, with Jaime Garcia sidelined indefinitely with a shoulder injury, Carpenter's comeback attempt takes on some added significance.
Carpenter took another small step toward returning on Saturday, when he threw an extended bullpen session shortly before the Cardinals took the field for batting practice. He threw more pitches than he did on Wednesday and took breaks in between sets to simulate getting up and down during a game.
"He's in phenomenal shape, we all know that," said manager Mike Matheny, who watched part of the session. "He's a tireless worker and you could see that he was right at the point he wanted to be which was tired and see how he could still execute his pitches."
Carpenter is expected to throw another short side session on Monday followed by a longer one on Thursday. General manager John Mozeliak said that the club has already mapped out a plan beyond that, but he did not divulge any details.
"He's progressing, which is encouraging, especially since we've lost another starter," Mozeliak said. "When we were asking these questions [about where he would fit on club] two weeks ago, it was, 'Whose spot is he going to take?' Well now it's like, 'Get healthy faster.'"
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. Chad Thornburg is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.