Carpenter scheduled to face live hitters later this week

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Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter continues to make a mostly smooth recovery from the left hamstring strain that he suffered last week.

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Carp is scheduled to face live hitters in a batting practice session Friday and could be cleared to resume appearing in Grapefruit League games if everything goes well.

Carpenter gave the Cardinals a little scare when he felt a twinge in the hamstring this past weekend, but he threw an aggressive bullpen session Tuesday and reported no problems during or after.

St. Louis is praying for another ace-like season out of the veteran right-hander, especially in the wake of Adam Wainwright’s recent Tommy John surgery. Carpenter posted a fantastic 3.22 ERA and 1.18 WHIP over 235 innings last year, racking up 179 strikeouts against only 63 walks. He nearly won the National League Cy Young Award in 2009.