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Carpenter, Friese and Pujols

The Cardinals say that starting pitcher Chris Carpenter still had pain in his strained left hamstring yesterday when he threw a bullpen session. That means he'll likely miss at leasy another week and his preparation for opening day -- when he is expected to start for the Redbirds -- is in doubt.

If Carpenter can't go on opening day, the obvious alternative would have been co-ace Adam Wainwright. But it would be fortunate if he is ready to start on opening day 2012 after undergoing Tommy John surgery a few days ago.

Third baseman David Freese finally made his spring debut and he did so with a big splash. He's two-for-three with three runs batted in against the Twins this afternoon. His ankles injury prone ankles have held up to two trips around the bases as he's tallied a couple of runs. Baserunning had been his biggest question mark during the recovery process. He ended his season last year in the minors when he tore ligaments in his ankles rounding third during an injury rehab game.

ESPN reports that the Red Sox and Adrian Gonzalez are expected to ink a seven-year contract for $22 million a season early in the 2011 campaign. That's $154 million over the life of the deal, which re-enforces the notion that the Cardinals' offer of $21 million or so a year for Albert Pujols is more than a little bit light. I think the best the Birds could hope for in terms of a discount is $27 million a year for seven seasons, or $189 million. But, in all likelihood, Pujols is probably not going to sign a contract for less than $200 million total value.