Chris Carpenter is ready to resume facing live hitters

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MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch provides the update:

Chris Carpenter threw his fourth bullpen session on Wednesday and is expected to add the challenge of facing hitters the next time he gets on the mound.

Assuming Carpenter doesn’t feel any day-after pain from his latest work, the right-hander will throw batting practice during the team’s weekend series in Kansas City

Carpenter has been on the disabled list all season with a nerve issue in his neck and shoulder that began bothering him during the second week of spring training.

“I feel good. I really do,” the veteran righty told Langosch on Wednesday. “My shoulder feels good. My body feels good. The effort level has been there, too. … I feel good, and I’m looking forward to the next step.”

Carpenter will need to make three or four minor league rehab starts before rejoining the front end of the Cardinals’ starting rotation. If he’s able to avoid setbacks, he could be ready for MLB action by late July.

The 36-year-old right-hander posted a 3.45 ERA across a major league-high 237 1/3 innings last year before going 4-0 with a 3.25 ERA in six postseason outings (three of which were World Series starts).

The 2012 Cards climbed to one game over .500 (35-34) with Wednesday night’s 3-1 victory over Detroit.

Giants place Hunter Pence on 10-day disabled list with right thumb sprain

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The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.

Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).

Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.