Notes: Carpenter throws successfully
Cards waiting to see how right elbow responds on Sunday
ST. LOUIS -- Chris Carpenter cleared one hurdle Saturday morning and will have to wait until Sunday to see if he clears the next one.
Still sidelined with swelling in his right elbow caused by bone spurs, Carpenter went through a normal pregame warm up in the bullpen with manager Tony La Russa, pitching coach Dave Duncan and head trainer Barry Weinberg looking on.
Carpenter threw around 70 pitches with a break in the middle of the session and will now wait until Sunday to see if the elbow swells up. The last time Carpenter threw a bullpen session was in Houston, and after the session he felt fine, but the next morning the elbow swelled up and forced the Cards to put Carpenter on the DL.
"It felt really good today but it felt good in Houston," Carpenter said. "I'm hoping I wake up tomorrow and it feels good and I can move on."
Carpenter threw his entire repertoire of pitches, and didn't shy away from off-speed stuff. If the elbow doesn't swell up on Sunday, Carpenter said he would probably throw another bullpen session on Tuesday in Milwaukee.
Duncan was optimistic after the session, but like Carpenter thought the most important day would be Sunday.
"I don't think what took place (Saturday) is as important as what takes place (Sunday)." Duncan said. "If it was later in the season, he'd be going nuts. He understands how much of the season is left, and he wants to make sure he's a big part of what's left."
Duncan said if Carpenter does throw Tuesday in Milwaukee, they would likely have some batters stand in the box and simulate some game situations, although none of the hitters would actually swing.
La Russa wasn't sure if Carpenter does throw another successful bullpen in Milwaukee whether or not he would make a rehab start at Triple-A Memphis or one of the Cardinals' other affiliates. The manager stressed that Carpenter's health is the most important thing.
"Health is the number one thing, the rest of the stuff, the mechanics and all that will fall into place," La Russa said. "(If) he comes back healthy, that's a huge step for us."
Carpenter said he wouldn't do much for the remainder of the day Saturday. He was planning on working out and then joining his teammates in the dugout for the game.
Bullpen day? With Carpenter still on the mend, and the fact that the Cards optioned Randy Keisler to Triple-A Memphis on Friday, the team is still without a starter for Tuesday's game against the Brewers.
Duncan and La Russa both speculated that the Cards would probably go with a bullpen day on Tuesday instead of bringing up a starter from the Minor Leagues.
Duncan said they would have to wait and see who pitches out of the bullpen before then, but said Josh Hancock and Brad Thompson were potential candidates to eat some innings.
"It could be a bullpen game, we have an off-day Thursday," La Russa said. "Right now we have this weekend, then we have Monday, so we'll see how we get through it. But the bullpen game is a possibility."
Eck gets another rest: Shortstop David Eckstein was out of the lineup on Saturday.
Eckstein had the day off Thursday as well, but went 1-for-5 in Friday's game and is batting .225 on the season. He is just 3-for-19 against Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano.
"He's struggling some," La Russa said. "The guy that's pitching has been tough on him. The chances of him getting better today are not reasonable. He'll be back in there tomorrow. "
Switch-hitting Aaron Miles took Eckstein's spot in the lineup and batted leadoff.
Jimenez impresses: Kelvin Jimenez left a good impression on La Russa and Duncan after his Major League debut on Friday.
Jimenez pitched a scoreless eighth, and retired Cubs power hitters Derrek Lee and Michael Barrett. The right-handed reliever was brought up to the big-league team after Keisler was sent down.
"I saw a good fastball. I saw a guy that didn't panic," Duncan said. "For his first Major League appearance I thought it was a positive."
Jimenez did get into a little trouble after he gave up a leadoff single to Alfonso Soriano and walked Aramis Ramirez, but got out of it when he retired Barrett on a fly out.
Yadi back in: Yadier Molina homered in the series opener on Friday, snapping a five-game homerless streak at home for the Redbirds.
Molina was back in the lineup for Saturday's late afternoon game. La Russa said it wasn't a true day-game-after-a-night-game situation, because the start time was 2:55 p.m. CT.
Baby Birds: Triple-A Memphis beat Iowa, 6-5, behind a grand slam from Ryan Ludwick. The home run was Ludwick's sixth of the season and the outfielder is now batting .346. Troy Cate picked up the win, going five innings and giving up three runs. ... Double-A Springfield beat Tulsa, 2-1. Catcher Bryan Anderson was the only player to register a multi-hit game. Juan Encarnacion continued his rehab assignment, playing right field, and went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts. ... Class A Palm Beach lost to Vero Beach, 11-3, despite a home run from center fielder Shane Robinson. Starter Tyler Norrick got roughed up for four runs in 3 2/3 innings. ...Class A Quad Cities beat Burlington, 5-3. Right fielder Luke Gorsett went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI.
Coming up: The Cards and Cubs will cap off their three-game series on Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN. Right-hander Kip Wells will get the start for the Cards while the Cubs will counter with lefty Rich Hill. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. CT.
Daniel Berk is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.