Carpenter could face live hitters soon

Carpenter could face live hitters soon

LOS ANGELES -- Right-hander Chris Carpenter threw an extended bullpen session at Busch Stadium on Thursday and responded well enough that the Cardinals are considering having him face hitters as early as Tuesday. Facing hitters in live batting practice would put Carpenter a step closer toward going out on a Minor League rehab assignment.

Carpenter has been throwing off a mound for several weeks now, slowly building back arm strength and increasing his pitch count. After throwing three simulated innings last Saturday, he pushed himself through four on Thursday.

Also back in St. Louis on Thursday, reliever Fernando Salas had Dr. George Paletta examine his ailing right shoulder. Salas was given a cortisone shot to relieve inflammation. He has been prescribed a rehab program, though the Cardinals have given no indication as to how long they expect Salas to remain on the disabled list. He will be eligible to come off on June 5.

Out in Los Angeles, Jake Westbrook played catch on Friday afternoon to test his right elbow. Westbrook, who had to end a bullpen session on Wednesday due to elbow pain, said after Friday's test that his elbow "felt not bad."

Westbrook said he plans to throw on flat ground again on Saturday, after which he hopes to have a better idea of a longer-term rehab plan. At this point, the Cardinals have not deemed it necessary for Westbrook to seek another opinion on his elbow. He has already missed two starts and will miss at least two more due to the setback from earlier this week.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.