Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter on Tuesday is expected to throw another simulated game to live hitters.
And by this time Wednesday we should have a much better idea if it's realistic for the 2005 Cy Young Award winner to try to pitch in meaningful games before the end of the 2012 season.
Prior to his surgery to relieve pressure on the nerves that control his pitching shoulder, Carpenter experienced weakness in the joint following strenuous throwing. He graduated last week from throwing in the bullpen in a glorified warm-up session to throwing 40 pitches to live hitters last week. A second simulated game with more pitches thrown ought to be a pretty good indication of if Carpenter's previous complication free outing was a fluke -- or if his arm is durable enough to push forward.
I get the sense from not only watching what Carpenter says during interviews -- but also by watching him on the field and in the dugout -- and he seems a lot more animated lately than he has at any time this season. That gives me the sense that he realistically thinks he's going to be a part of of the team before this season is out. Not that setbacks aren't possible. I just think Carpenter seems to believe it's likely he'll be able to play. And that's a great sign with how frustrated he has seemed to be up to this point.
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According to various outlets, St. Louis general manager John Mozeliak said over the holiday weekend that Carpenter needs to throw 90 pitches in a simulated game before the team would consider activating him to be a starter.