SAN DIEGO A 70-pitch simulated game was a step in the right direction but not enough to convince the Cardinals that ace Chris Carpenter is ready to pitch in a big league game just yet.
Carpenter, 37, has yet to pitch this season while dealing with a nerve issue in his neck and right shoulder. But he threw his third simulated game Monday afternoon at Petco Park and continues to make rapid progress towards a return to the mound.
And it appears Carpenter will pitch for the Cardinals in the near future - it just won't be this weekend as some had speculated. The right-hander will instead throw another simulated game Saturday in Los Angeles before likely making his season debut sometime next week.
"It was a very good outing today," manager Mike Matheny said. "He had more life on the ball, it was crisp movement and he held it all the way through until his last pitch with the same stuff. That was all very encouraging to see.
"Another step in the right direction. Right now we just keep ...