Chris Carpenter throws live batting practice

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Chris Carpenter’s 2012 season was supposed to be over after he underwent surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome last month, but the 37-year-old right-hander threw two innings of live batting practice Friday.

“We went into today going out and face hitters if everything’s going good. Take that next step and see what happens,” said Carpenter. “Like I said all along, I’m not just going to sit around and waste the month.”

While he’s not going to be able to go make rehab starts in the minors, Carpenter may have enough time to get stretched out to potentially start a game or two at the end of September for the Cardinals. The team could then make a decision on his status for the postseason if it’s in position for a wild card spot.

Carpenter has missed the entire 2012 season. He went 11-9 with a 3.45 ERA last year and then 4-0 with a 3.25 ERA in six postseason starts as the Cardinals won the World Series.

Jim Hickey steps down as Cubs’ pitching coach

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The Cubs announced on Tuesday that Jim Hickey has stepped down as the pitching coach due to personal reasons. The club will begin a search for a replacement.

Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said in a statement, “Jim Hickey notified us yesterday of his decision to step down as pitching coach and leave the organization for personal reasons. We thank Jim for his season with the Cubs and his positive impact on our pitchers. Jim has our full support and we all wish him well.”

Hickey, 57, spent over a decade as a coach in the Rays organization before joining the Cubs for the past season, reuniting with Joe Maddon. The Cubs’ starting staff ranked 10th among all 30 teams with a 3.84 ERA and the bullpen posted an NL-best 3.35 ERA.