Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter tossed a 75-pitch bullpen this afternoon and came away feeling “strong”. The right-hander missed most of the 2012 season after undergoing surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome in his right shoulder and was expected to miss all of 2013 with shoulder, neck, and arm issues.
GM John Mozeliak told the media recently, though, that Carpenter could return to the team as a member of the bullpen. The 38-year-old’s continued progress has him inching ever closer to a summer return, which is welcome news for the Cardinals as they watched closer Jason Motte undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery.
Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has more:
What’s next is more bullpen sessions for Carpenter, who said he would have a better idea at the end of the Cardinals’ current homestand as to when he’ll get in games. He said Friday’s session was his fourth or fifth time in the bullpen, and he’s felt no pain and no numbness.
“I’m going to continue to throw bullpens,” he said. “Just continue to get some work up there, continue to put some stress on my arm and see what happens. I’ve had no problems, no issues, no setbacks so far, and my arm feels strong. I’m feeling good about it. I’ll continue to do it.”
Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper played some third base during Monday’s intrasquad game at Citizens Bank Park, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Harper had been pestering manager Joe Girardi for the opportunity and the skipper finally gave in.
Girardi told Harper, “No diving. And make sure your arm is loose.” Harper had the opportunity to field one ball, a grounder to his left and he made the play perfectly.
Why put Harper at third base? Girardi said, “I think it’s important the guys have fun. I saw him a week ago taking ground balls there and I was impressed. His hands worked well out front and he threw the ball across the field well. I told him, ‘You look good there.'”
Despite the solid showing, don’t expect Harper to show up at third base in a meaningful game anytime soon. That being said, the Phillies’ second and third base situations are still not cemented. Jean Segura will likely open the season at the hot corner with Scott Kingery at second, but things could change between now and Opening Day in 10 days.
Harper, 27, is coming off a solid first season with the Phillies. He hit .260/.372/.510 with 36 doubles, 35 home runs, 114 RBI, 98 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases across 682 plate appearances. Per FanGraphs, Harper’s 4.6 Wins Above Replacement ranked 16th in the National League. For some people, those numbers weren’t nearly good enough, so the expectations remain high as Harper enters year two of his 13-year, $330 million contract.