Carpenter set to return from hamstring injury

By The Associated Press

ST. LOUIS – Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter is set to return from a hamstring injury that sidelined him for a couple weeks.

Carpenter left his March 1 spring debut in the third inning with a left hamstring strain. He’s scheduled to make his second spring start Wednesday against the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland, Fla.

Barring another setback, manager Tony La Russa anticipated the right-hander would have no problem elevating his pitch count in time to start on opening day. Carpenter would get two more spring starts before the March 31 opener against the San Diego Padres at home.

“He kept his arm in shape so it’s not going to be a traditional first time out there,” La Russa said. “If he takes the ball every time he’s supposed to, he should be at 100. He’s strong.”

Lance Berkman is scheduled to play right field on Thursday for the first time since March 1. He said he’s over some left elbow soreness.

Berkman hasn’t played regularly in the outfield since 2004.

“It feels good. I wanted to play today but it’s super-cautious spring thinking,” Berkman said.

Infielder Tyler Greene was absent for a second straight day because of flulike symptoms. Third baseman David Freese, coming off a pair of ankle operations, had the day off after playing on consecutive days. He was scheduled to make the bus trip to play the Tigers on Wednesday.

Click video to hear audio