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Cards get ace back, say he'll be ready for opener

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

The right-hander 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 Tigers in Lakeland.

Barring another setback, manager Tony La Russa anticipated Carpenter 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 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."

Also, Lance Berkman is scheduled to play rightfield 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 two ankle operations, had the day off after playing on consecutive days.

BAILEY OKAY: The Athletics were relieved to learn that closer Andrew Bailey does not have a serious elbow injury as was first feared. Bailey, who has a strained forearm, will resume throwing once the discomfort subsides.

PITCHER RETIRES: Right-hander Ian Snell decided to retire at age 29 after the Cardinals optioned him to the minors. Snell went 38-53 with a 4.80 ERA in seven full seasons.

ANGELS: First baseman Kendrys Morales, who is recovering from a broken lower-left leg, still isn't running at 100 percent and appears unlikely to be ready for opening day, the Los Angeles Times reported.

NATIONALS: Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (right groin tightness) and catcher Ivan Rodriguez (left calf) were scratched and are expected to sit out for four or five days. Both are expected to be ready by opening day.

ORIOLES: Tests on right-hander Justin Duchscherer's surgically repaired left hip showed nothing new, and the pitcher will be re-evaluated later this week, the Baltimore Sun reported.

TIGERS: Manager Jim Leyland said second baseman Carlos Guillen and right-handed reliever Joel Zumaya will stay in Florida to continue their rehab work. Guillen is recovering from a deep bruise on his left knee that ended his season in August, and Zumaya is recovering from right arm surgery and hasn't pitched since June.

Cards get ace back, say he'll be ready for opener 03/15/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 15, 2011 9:34pm]

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