Notes: Cards dodge injury scares

Notes: Cards dodge injury scares

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- It's been two scares in two days for the Cardinals, but friends and teammates Yadier Molina and Albert Pujols are both doing just fine.

Pujols took a tumble in the third inning of St. Louis' game against Baltimore on Tuesday. He collided with umpire Joe West as he attempted to field Nick Markakis' double down the line. Pujols remained on the ground for a moment, clutched his left shoulder as if in pain -- and remained in the game with no problems.

In his next at-bat, Pujols obliterated a pitch that would have been a monster home run had it been fair. He capped the at-bat with a double to right-center field. Both balls were clearly the work of a hitter whose front shoulder is unencumbered by injury.

"I'm fine," Pujols said. "I didn't need to be scared because I was fine. We'll see tomorrow how I feel, but I'm fine. The one thing I was concerned about was swinging, but I swung the bat real good with no problem."

Molina's scare came a day earlier, when he turned his ankle on a play where he was doubled off first base. He was removed from the game against Houston. But the catcher was back in the starting lineup on Tuesday.

"Yesterday it was a little bit hurt, but today it's good," Molina said. "It wasn't that bad. I felt it a little bit, but I ran and it went away. So I wasn't worried about it."

Pujols will have a regularly scheduled day off when the Cardinals go to Vero Beach on Wednesday.

Injury updates: Adam Kennedy came through a lengthy batting practice session just fine on Tuesday, but he still will not play against the Dodgers on Wednesday.

"Hopefully by the weekend," Kennedy said.

Manager Tony La Russa emphasized that Kennedy has not had any setbacks, but rather that the club simply has no reason to rush its second baseman.

Russ Springer threw a bullpen session on Tuesday at Cardinals camp. His next session, according to pitching coach Dave Duncan, will be another bullpen, rather than against hitters. Springer is recuperating from some soreness in his ribcage.

Carp goes three: Right-hander Chris Carpenter's second outing of the spring closely resembled his first. The results were solid -- three innings, one run, two hits, two walks and two strikeouts. The pitches themselves were good, sometimes very good, but not as consistent as the ace would like.

"It was similar," Carpenter said. "I felt like my velocity, [and the] location on my fastball at times were better. But besides that, it was very similar."

Carpenter threw 43 pitches against the Orioles, 25 of them for strikes. He'll aim for about 60 pitches his next time out, on Sunday against the Braves at Roger Dean.

"I feel good," he said. "I got my pitches in, I felt strong. I was able to make some adjustments and get the ball down in the strike zone."

Free baseball: The Cards and O's played 10 innings on Tuesday, stretching St. Louis' pitching a smidge thinner than manager Tony La Russa might have liked. Tyler Johnson, who had been scheduled to throw on Wednesday, pitched the 10th. Josh Hancock, who pitched the bottom of the ninth, had also been considered an option for the Wednesday game if he hadn't pitched Tuesday.

Instead, they're both off the list.

"We would have liked to save one of the two guys, Hancock or Johnson," La Russa said. "We'll bring somebody that's got one day rest."

Still, the manager was pleased with his bullpen. He noted strong performances by nearly everyone who pitched, particularly relievers Hancock, Johnson and Randy Flores.

Weather report: Florida is not a bad place to be in the springtime. First-pitch temperature in Vero Beach is forecast to be 76 degrees, with a few clouds and only a 10 percent chance of rain.

Coming up: The Cardinals will travel north on Wednesday for a game against the Dodgers at Vero Beach. Braden Looper will take the mound, followed by Ryan Franklin, Chris Narveson and Andy Cavazos. Brad Penny is the opposing starter, with first pitch set for 12:05 p.m. CT.

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