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Carpenter wows, Jay earns a look

Ah, deep breath.

Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter made his first sping training start in two years Saturday... and he was nearly flawless in two innings against the Nationals.

No hits, no runs. Only a plunking of outfielder Lastings Milledge. Carpenter said he doesn't have the feel for his breaking pitches yet, which is to be expected at this point of the spring even if he was healthy each of the last two years.

The important thing is that he doesn't suffer any physical setbacks.

Skip Schumacher was 1-for-2 with a pair of walks to raise his spring batting average to .444, so far dispelling any fears that his effort to move to second base would hurt him at the plate.

Jon Jay, who I wrote about in a post that was supposed to go up this morning but was somehow lost in cyberspace, continues his hot hitting with a 1-for-3 day that left his spring batting average at .364.

Jay, a star at the university of Miami before his minor league career bogged down a little bit. But he got back on track last season with a .306 batting average with 11 homers and 10 stolen bases at Class AA Springfield before being promoted to Class AAA Memphis where he hit .345.

A lefty hitter in an outfield crowded with lefty hitters, Jay may have become something of an afterthought. But, if he keeps hitting like he did last season and like he is so far this spring, he's going to find himself in a St. Louis uniform soon. Maybe as the true leadoff hitter the Cardinals have lacked since Tony Womack left town.