Carpenter set to return from hamstring injury

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

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 today against the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland, Fla.

Barring another setback, Cardinals 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 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.

Snell calls it quits

Ian Snell decided to retire at age 29 after the Cardinals optioned him to the minors.

The right-hander signed a minor league deal in January after going 0-5 with 6.41 ERA in 12 games, eight of them starts, for the Seattle Mariners last season. Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said Snell decided to quit before Tuesday's game against the Braves.

The Cardinals had anticipated Snell starting the season at Class AAA Memphis.The move leaves them with 42 healthy players in camp.

"The initial hope was he was going to be someone who could give us protection at Memphis," Mozeliak said. "Someone is going to have to step up. It's not a huge hit to us at this point."

Snell pitched in one game, working two innings and allowing two runs March 3. Since then he appeared in two "B" games, the last Monday when he gave up two runs in an inning against Atlanta.

Snell is 38-53 with a 4.80 ERA in seven full seasons. He had a career-high 14 victories in 2006.

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