Chris Carpenter cleared to begin throwing program

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The Cardinals were shut out by Kyle Kendrick and the Phillies on Saturday evening at Busch Stadium and have fallen a game-and-a-half behind the Reds in the National League Central standings. But the Budweiser should be flowing as steadily as usual on Memorial Day weekend in the Gateway to the West.

According to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, veteran right-hander Chris Carpenter “recently began throwing into a net” and will soon progress to regular flat-ground games of catch.

Carpenter has been sidelined since the middle of spring training with nerve issues in his neck and shoulder, and is refraining from projecting a return date. But it’s feasible that he could be ready in six weeks.

“It’s about going day to day, step by step,” the 37-year-old told the Post-Dispatch. “I’m not getting very far ahead. The hope is that everything continues to progress. That’s pretty much where I’m at now.”

Carp registered a 3.45 ERA and 191/55 K/BB ratio across 237 1/3 regular-season innings (34 starts) in 2011.