Carpenter throws side session, says “I’ll be fine”

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Chris Carpenter seems to be making a quick and easy recovery from the left hamstring strain that he suffered in a game last week.

According to Hall of Famer Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Carp threw a light side session off a mound Sunday afternoon in Cardinals camp and reported only mild discomfort in his hammy.

The Cardinals haven’t scheduled a live appearance for him yet and probably won’t until he’s back to feeling 100 percent. He has ample time to get back on track for his Opening Day start on March 31 in St. Louis.

“(The leg) is good enough,” said the Carpenter. “I just wanted to get up there and throw a little bit. And it was exactly what we needed to do. I’ll be fine. I’ve come back from many, many different things. My arm strength is good.”

The Cardinals need another ace-like performance from Carp this season with Adam Wainwright sidelined by Tommy John surgery. The veteran finished with a 3.22 ERA and 179 strikeouts in 235 innings last year.

Kyle Schwarber is “probably, arguably” in The Best Shape of His Life

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Joe Maddon just held his annual media availability here at the Winter Meetings. During the scrum he said that Kyle Schwarber “looked great the other day” at a Cubs community event and that . . . wait for it . . . “he’s in, probably, arguably in the best shape of his life.” Maddon went on to say that, if Schwarber looks good in spring training, he might even be the Cubs leadoff hitter in 2018.

Schwarber is only 24, but the former catcher turned outfielder is going to spend most of his career as a DH, with another team obviously, unless he shows the Cubs that he can be a regular defender. The Cubs would love to see him in better shape whether they keep him or shop him, and if it’s the latter, they’ll want to show potential trade partners that he can play defense so as not to limit his market. It’s in everyone’s interests for him to be lean, mean and a bit more flexible once spring training starts.

To that end, according to a recent report, Schwarber “has been on a mission this offseason to transform his body.” And now Maddon is playing up the BSOHL angle. Whether that’s salesmanship or not, all eyes are going to be on Schwarber come February.