6/21/2013 8:34 P.M. ET
Carpenter cleared to throw after bout with tight back
By Chad Thornburg / MLB.com
ST. LOUIS -- After a slight setback due to lower back tightness, Chris Carpenter has been cleared to resume his throwing program.
General manager John Mozeliak said Carpenter played catch Friday and will toss a light bullpen session Saturday.
The 38-year-old had progressed to throwing to live batters during the last homestand and was expected to return to that this week until the back tightness put his program on hold. Mozeliak said Carpenter's lower back stiffened up following his last bullpen session Sunday.
Carpenter will continue with his rehab while focusing on stabilization of his lower back. Mozeliak declined to go into specifics on the issue beyond that the right-hander has been cleared to pitch again.
The issue is separate from the thoracic outlet syndrome that initially sidelined him, but Carpenter has dealt with similar problems in each of the past two seasons, and it was back tightness that preceded the nerve issues he dealt with last year.
Mozeliak remains optimistic about Carpenter's progress and said any contributions they do get from Carpenter this season would be a bonus to a rotation that already led the Majors in ERA at 3.20 going into Friday's games.
"There was a chance that this might have really slowed him down, but it looks like it's not going to be that big a deal," Mozeliak said. "The track has been slightly adjusted. Obviously this week has come and gone, so that's been slowed down, but having said that, I think he can just jump back on and start making progress again."
Berkman's return to St. Louis brings back memories
ST. LOUIS -- Unlike some of his new teammates, Lance Berkman has no bad memories of St. Louis. He played here with the Cardinals in 2011-12 and was a member of their world championship team that beat the Rangers in '11.
Berkman homered and had the game-tying single with two outs in the 10th inning in Game 6 that kept the Cardinals alive. They won it in the 11th inning on David Freese's home run, and Berkman isn't above bringing it up to fellow Rangers.
"I try to get a good dig in on somebody once a week, maybe once every two weeks," Berkman said. "I don't bring it up unless things are going good and we've been in a little lull lately."
He doesn't have to worry about the Rangers digging him back in return.
"What are they going to give back?" Berkman said. "The guy who is scary is Adrian Beltre. He's not amused by any of that."
Berkman is back in St. Louis but is not expected to start in any of the three games. There is no designated hitter in the National League city, and the Rangers activated first baseman Mitch Moreland off the disabled list on Friday, and he was immediately back in the lineup.
For Matheny, pair of 10-game winners carries weight
ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said he walked through the weight room Friday and up on the board was a poll question asking whether the pitchers' wins and losses statistic should be abolished.
A question to which Matheny believes the answer is no.
"I think everybody always wants to know if there is any stat that is real deceiving, and that can be one," Matheny said. "But there also is a lot to be said about guys that just have the ability to go out and do enough to give their team a chance to win every time they pitch regardless of how good or bad they feel."
With a 6-1 victory over the Cubs on Thursday, Lance Lynn became the third 10-win pitcher in the National League, joining teammate Adam Wainwright and Washington's Jordan Zimmermann. Lynn's 28 wins since the start of the 2012 season are the most in the Majors.
Forty-one of the Cardinals' 47 wins have been awarded to a starting pitcher, the most by a Cardinals staff through 73 games since 2005, when the rotation also posted 41 victories.
"We'll take the 10 wins for each of those guys, and I know that they'd like to double that by the end of the season; that'd make for something pretty special," Matheny said. "Just like a stat with guys getting hits with [runners] in scoring position. There's just certain guys that know how to get it done. You can't take that away from them, because that's what the bottom line is."
• Matt Holliday belted his 11th home run of the season over the center-field wall Thursday and may be on the verge of a hot streak. Holliday raised his average from .267 to .278 with a 7-for-16 performance in the four-game series with the Cubs, and Matheny said he noticed the left fielder has been hitting the ball harder as of late.
"I think his timing is real close to being right on," Matheny said. "When you see the hard outs that he's making there, you can barely get your eyes on them. He's getting real close. It's fun to watch. That ball hit to center, not many guys can hit a ball in that trajectory and get it out of this park."
• Although he was raised an Astros fan, Shelby Miller grew up about two and a half hours from Rangers Ballpark. The Rangers passed up on Miller in the 2009 Draft, and selected another Texas high school prospect, Matt Purke, who did not sign with the team.
Chad Thornburg is an associate reporter for MLB.com. T.R. Sullivan, a reporter for MLB.com, contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.