ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter threw to live batters Monday for the first time in his comeback attempt from a career-threatening nerve issue.
After throwing successful bullpen sessions on May 27 and 30, Carpenter threw about 20 pitches to teammates Shane Robinson and Matt Adams on Monday. He threw another 20 or so without a batter from the mound, while several teammates gathered behind the batting cage to watch.
"I thought he did well," manager Mike Matheny said. "He threw the ball well. The ball came out of his hand nice. The secondary pitches were there. It was another good step."
Carpenter said the next move depends on how his body responds to Monday's action. If the reaction is positive, he'll throw two or three more similar sessions before any additional steps such as a rehabilitation appearance. If not, he will once again rest and reset the process which he has done at least twice in his latest comeback attempt.
The former Cy Young winner hasn't pitched this season after experiencing numbness in his throwing shoulder during spring training. At the time, both he and the Cardinals talked as if his career might be over though neither ruled out a return.
"I feel good, this time," he said. "I feel in control of my body. My stuff feels pretty good and hopefully, I can continue to get sharper and stronger."