Chris Carpenter threw again today off and the mound. His progress is being closely monitored by pitching coach Dave Duncan. He doesn't want Carpenter to throw at top speed yet, more like 70 to 75 percent. So far, so good. Carpenter has been throwing free and easy and says his surgically repaired elbow and shoulder feel great.
The Cardinal relievers filmed a commercial today before practice. The top three candidates to become the new closer, Ryan Franklin, Chris Perez and Jason Motte, wore fake beards to try to look like Bruce Sutter. Sutter is the former Cards reliever who's now in the hall of fame. HIs split fingered fastball had more to do with his great success than his beard, but I guess the Cardinals will try anything in an effort to channel Sutter's ability to get the last outs in the ninth inning.
Today is the first day the hitters will face live pitching. Instead of just taking batting practice, they'll step in against some of the pitchers who will try to get them out. At this point in the spring the pitchers are usually far ahead of the hitters in terms of being "game ready". It's never easy to hit 90 mile an hour fastballs after the long break of the off-season.