The St. Louis Cardinals have announced that starting pitcher Chris Carpenter will make a second rehab start Saturday for the Memphis Redbirds.
Carpenter, who is trying to come back after missing all of the 2013 season so far and all but a handful of games in 2012 thanks to a nerve problem that has caused numbness in his pitching arm, made his first start Monday for Class AA Springfield.
While the results were mixed, with six hits and three runs allowed against minor league hitters while Carpenter struck out five batters in 2 2/3 innings, the major issue to watch for after his first outing was to see if he could actually bounce back and make a second start.
According to Carpenter's previous reports, he usually suffered the numbness and weakness that sidetracked his career in the days after stressing his arm.
The fact that the Cardinals threw Carpenter into the mix at the Class AAA level is encouraging because, not only is it the highest level of competition he could face in a minor league rehab game. But also because pitching in Class AAA is going to give Carpenter the most media exposure he will face in the minors. The team easily could have sent the 2005 Cy Young Award winner off to Class A someplace to keep cameras and pesky reporters away if it feared Carpenter isn't ready for prime time.
Still, judging from the lack of fastball command and the inability to throw more than 54 pitches his last time out, it seems Carpenter is likely to use the majority -- if not all -- of the 30 days he is allowed in a rehab stint. That puts him on a path to reach the major leagues by the end of the first week of August.