Carpenter and Kopp: The Present & the Future

The St. Louis Cardinals' 35-year-old ace and a 25-year-old hopeful threw to live hitters on Friday. Chris Carpenter and David Kopp talk about their outings.

The biggest place for news in St. Louis Cardinals spring training camp on Friday morning was on a back field at the Roger Dean Stadium complex in Jupiter, Florida.

At 10:15 A.M. on Field #5, 35-year-old Chris Carpenter was scheduled to throw four simulated innings to catcher Gerald Laird. The club's ace is working back into game shape after suffering a hamstring strain during his spring training opener on March 1.

Carpenter on Friday
Along with 30-40 onlookers, more than watching all the nearby minor league action combined, coaches studying the action included manager Tony La Russa, pitching coach Dave Duncan, bullpen coach Derek Lilliquist (who also called balls and strikes) and Hall of Famer Red Schoendienst. Others included pitcher Kyle Lohse, assistant general manager Mike Girsch, team physician George Paletta, assistant trainer Barry Weinberg and a host of others.

Rotating innings with #29 was another right-handed pitcher, #67, David Kopp. The 25-year old, throwing to catcher Bryan Anderson, was facing his first live hitters of the spring as part of his recovery from off-season nerve transposition surgery in his elbow. Perhaps not entirely coincidentally, Carpenter also had the procedure two years earlier.

Stepping into the batters box against the two were right-handers Tony Cruz and Pete Kozma and lefties Adron Chambers and Anderson. A considerable wind blowing in didn't help the pitchers' control, but Kopp sawed off one of Chambers' bats which went flying far down the first base line and even the perfectionist in Carpenter only led to a few frustrations, as measured by choice words from his mouth.

In a potentially scary moment, Duncan, standing on the raised platform at the rear of the batting cage, was struck in the nose by a foul ball. Schoendienst piloted a cart with Paletta also aboard to take Duncan into the clubhouse for treatment. The pitching coach was back in action in literally minutes, suffering no apparent ill effect.

Carpenter was pleased with his 60-plus pitch outing and pronounced himself on track to return to action this coming Wednesday. La Russa called Carpenter, "Rusty, but healthy."

The pitcher's remarks follow.

(4:41)

Though Kopp is the only player in major league camp to not appear in official spring training game action, he is pleased with his progress and wants to continue his 2010 feat of pitching in every start. For a pitcher with a checkered injury past, turning that corner seems almost as important as his results, which included both mid-season and post-season All-Star recognition in the Double-A Texas League last year.

Kopp also spoke after his Friday live bullpen session.

(6:19)



Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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