ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis Cardinals rotation described Monday as "tiring" by General Manager John Mozeliak could receive an injection at some point in September.
While confirming that heralded prospect Shelby Miller will be promoted Tuesday from Class AAA Memphis, Mozeliak also acknowledged the possibility that Chris Carpenter is on a path that could see him return later this month.
Miller, the Cardinals' first-round pick in the 2009 draft, made his final start for Memphis on Friday when he struck out nine and allowed just one run in six innings against Nashville.
After a dreadful start with the Redbirds, Miller, 21, finished 11-10 with a 4.74 ERA in 27 starts and 136 2/3 innings. He walked 50 and struck out 160, although he surrendered 24 home runs.
"In Shelby's case, it was really something where we feel he can help us right now," Mozeliak said. "If you look back at how he's pitched over the last six, seven weeks, he's really turned the corner.
"How he's going to be used right now is probably more in a long (relief) role, but we're not ruling out a start, either, between now and the end of the season."
The Cardinals have made no commitment to giving Miller a start, in but obviously are intrigued with the possibility.
With Kyle Lohse almost certain to sign elsewhere as a free agent in the offseason, Miller could be the front-runner to fill the void.
"Right now, he's very strong," Mozeliak said. "In terms of looking at a start, I don't think it would be any time in the near future. He will just be part of the bullpen, but I suspect he will be used more in an innings-eating type of role."
Miller has earned the call-up. In his last 10 outings, he was 7-2 with a 2.88 ERA. In 59 1/3 innings, he allowed 48 hits, walked seven and fanned 70 while limiting hitters to a .217 average.
"I think it's command of his secondary pitches, usage of his secondary pitches," Mozeliak said of the reason for Miller's turnaround. "When you look at more of the baseball-card stats, to see the number of strikeouts and the lack of walks, it just screams (that) he's around the zone. He should be a great complement to our club as we move forward."
Mozeliak said the Cardinals wouldn't have promoted Miller unless they envisioned a role he could fill. Bringing him to St. Louis to experience the big-league atmosphere wasn't the plan.
"I think this is really about someone that can come and help us," Mozeliak said. "Look, we're competing for a playoff spot right now, so giving somebody experience is just maybe not the right strategy when you're competing for a playoff spot. Are there ancillary benefits from this? Sure, but that is not the reason we brought him up."
Carpenter, recovering from thoracic compartment syndrome surgery July 19 that was believed to be season-ending, will simulate a three-inning start Tuesday against hitters. He will throw between 36 and 40 pitches.
"I would say if we bring him back, it will probably be in the starting role," Mozeliak said. "But ideally, we want him to come back and be able to throw 90 pitches. We're not going to bring him back until he can do that. He has to build up his pitch count.
"Given the fact he hasn't been able to throw much prior to surgery, he does feel good. It looks like he's on track to contribute. We're hopeful that's what happens."
Carpenter, 37, never was inclined to shut down his season.
"If I'm feeling good and my strength's here, there's no need to sit around and not try," Carpenter said. "You might as well try, right? So that's what we're doing. We'll see what happens."
Carpenter said the recovery has been "quick."
"But it's also something where I went into the surgery knowing and hoping that if I stayed strong enough leading up to that surgery and don't lose much after it, that I could hopefully recover fast enough to come back," he said. "I've been able to do that.
"I could have easily called it a day when they said I was going to have surgery, but I didn't want to do that. I wanted to see what I could do and see if I could get back just in case we had the opportunity."
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny sounded a cautious note on Carpenter.
"I still stand behind the fact of not putting too much expectation on what he has to do and a timeframe because he's gone through a lot this season," Matheny said.
"He's feeling better than he anticipated feeling, so I think the obvious question is 'OK, what can he do?' He's been showing us what he can do and we'll continue to watch it."