Cardinals expect Carpenter to miss at least one start

Wednesday, March 2, 2011 | 7:58 p.m. CST; updated 4:24 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, April 13, 2011
St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Chris Carpenter, left, talks to catcher Yadier Molina before leaving a spring training baseball game against the Florida Marlins on Tuesday in Jupiter, Fla. Carpenter left the game early with an injured left hamstring.

JUPITER, Fla. — The Cardinals expect Chris Carpenter to miss at least one spring start even though the right-hander's strained left hamstring is feeling better.

"It's better than it was (Tuesday)," Carpenter said. "It's still there a little bit. They will treat it and see what happens."

Carpenter left St. Louis' 7-1 victory over the Marlins on Tuesday after feeling a "tweak" in his hamstring. He had pitched 2 2-3 innings and allowed one hit. He iced the leg immediately and was to continue treatment. 

Carpenter arrived at camp Wednesday with his leg wrapped in a bandage but was walking without a limp. He isn't scheduled for a bullpen session, but manager Tony La Russa believes Carpenter will be able to continue throwing.

"I'm sure he's going to keep his arm in shape whether it's play catch or something," Russa said. "The first step was to see (how) he came in today. If he was a lot more sore, that first diagnosis of a tweak or a minor deal was inaccurate. So far we're hoping that's right."

The Cardinals have not announced who will start in Carpenter's place Sunday at the Marlins but said right-hander Kyle McClellan will start Saturday against the Astros. He has emerged as the favorite to fill the spot of 20-game winner Adam Wainwright, who had reconstructive elbow surgery this week.

"Right now, he's the guy that I think is best suited for the role, provided he can show us this spring what we need to see," pitching coach Dave Duncan told reporters Tuesday. "He's done that before. But ... I'm one vote and not the final vote. In my opinion, it's more important to get him slotted than it is to get anybody else."

Wainwright had season-ending Tommy John surgery Monday.

Reliever Mitchell Boggs, who left Tuesday's game an inning after Carpenter with a strained lower back, said he felt better Wednesday and planned to long toss in the next few days.

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