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Carpenter is impressive early

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan seem downright giddy about the way Chris Carpenter is throwing the ball so far this spring.

With enough zip on his fastball to give the 2005 Cy Young Award winner the confidence he needs to throw it in any situation and nasty breaking stuff that he isn't afraid will put too much stress on his surgically repaired right arm, Carpenter finally seems like Carpenter again.

I still am reluctant to let my guard down enough to believe that things are going to go perfectly smoothly from here on out. But it is great to see Carpenter is not only on pace to be ready for opening day. But, before he can even really stretch his legs this spring, he is showing the stuff that made him one of the most dominant pitchers in the game from 2004-06.