Notes: Carpenter getting up to speed

Notes: Carpenter getting up to speed at camp

JUPITER, Fla. -- In his last session pitching to his own teammates, Chris Carpenter continued to feel stronger and sharper. He's still not where he wants to be, but that's as much a matter of his own high expectations as it is of any shortcoming on the part of the ace righty.

"He expects to be like he was in August," said pitching coach Dave Duncan. "He's pretty sharp right now. Just not like he will be a month from now."

Carpenter is growing more confident in his changeup, which he's identified as a priority this spring. He threw quite a few in a live batting practice session against several Cards outfielders.

"I was excited about my throw," Carpenter said. "I was excited about the way I threw. I felt good about my changeup. I think that every time I've thrown, it's gotten better. I feel like I'm on track, strength-wise. I feel good, so I'm not concerned about any of that."

Carpenter's next throw will be a bullpen session on Tuesday. Following that, he'll pitch in Thursday's road game against the New York Mets at Port St. Lucie.

Franklin to start: Right-hander Ryan Franklin may get a chance to start a game this spring after all. Franklin and Brad Thompson are pushing for starting spots, hoping to oust one of the favorites in front of them -- a group that includes Adam Wainwright, Anthony Reyes and Braden Looper.

Franklin and Thompson had not initially been slated for any starts. Instead, they were scheduled to pitch solely in relief, coming in at the start of innings but not of games. That's a switch from previous years, when starting candidates would alternate starts and relief appearances during the spring.

"I think you try to get a feel for it," Duncan said. "Say the first time out, the second guy doesn't do too well. You're going to keep that in mind that maybe that's not a fair way to evaluate. Say he does great, then you're OK and you just keep going on."

Duncan said that Franklin, in particular, may start at some point before the competition is settled.

"I certainly would like to see Franklin get a start," he said. "Is it important for Thompson? I don't know. We'll wait and see, but I don't think it is. I think it's more important to see him pitch innings."

Doubleheader: The Cardinals will play Florida Atlantic University on the main field at Roger Dean Stadium on Monday, but that won't be the only competition for St. Louis players. In fact, the better-known Redbirds will instead play in what the team calls a "coaches' game" on Monday morning. Two teams will hit and play defense, with coaches throwing batting practice pitches.

The lineups:

1. DH Bryan Anderson, C Gary Bennett, 1B Albert Pujols, 2B Adam Kennedy, 3B Scott Rolen, SS David Eckstein, LF Rick Ankiel, CF So Taguchi, RF Preston Wilson

2. DH Danilo Sanchez, C Yadier Molina, 1B Eli Marrero, 2B Aaron Miles, 3B Scott Spiezio, SS Jolbert Cabrera, LF Chris Duncan, CF Skip Schumacher, RF John Rodriguez

Always welcome: George Kissell, a legendary figure within the Cardinals organization, made an appearance at camp on Sunday. Kissell has participated in Cardinals Spring Training in 67 of the past 68 seasons. A long-time coach and instructor, Kissell's role has diminished somewhat in recent years, but he remains one of the most respected figures in the organization.

On Sunday, Kissell led some bunting drills with the team's pitchers. He's so well regarded for his fundamentals teaching that a plaque honoring Kissell hangs at the entrance to the clubhouse at Roger Dean Stadium.

Thursday hurlers: After Carpenter starts on Thursday, the Cardinals will trot out a series of young pitchers in their game against the Mets in Port St. Lucie. Blake Hawksworth, Mike Parisi, Andy Cavazos and Mark Worrell are all considered prospects worth watching. The other pitcher slated to go at Tradition Field is lefty Tyler Johnson, who made quite an impression against the same Mets in the National League Championship Series last October.

Bits and pieces: Jim Edmonds had his infant son drop by camp for a visit on Sunday. It was the young man's first birthday. ... Wainwright wore a microphone during some of Sunday's workout. Major League Baseball Productions was recording for an upcoming episode of This Week in Baseball.

Quotable: "You know a lot of times when a young player comes along and he's really talented and we put unreal expectations on him? Carp is putting unreal expectations on himself right now. He's doing fine, I think." -- Duncan, on Carpenter

Weather report: It could be a bit dicey on Monday. The forecast calls for highs in the low 80s, but a 30 percent chance of rain and "scattered thunderstorms." However, by mid-to-late afternoon, most of the rain chance is expected to have diminished.

Coming up: The Cardinals and FAU will play a seven-inning exhibition at Roger Dean Stadium at 1:05 p.m. ET on Monday.

Matthew Leach is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.