St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter is expected to begin a minor-league rehabilitation assignment this week.
Carpenter, sidelined since July 6 with a strained right oblique, took swings in the outdoor batting cage and ran the bases Sunday afternoon (Monday in Manila), signs that he is making steady improvement.
“It feels good,” Carpenter said. “Today was the first day of hitting BP, so we’ll see how I feel as far as soreness. I’ll hit BP again, depending on how I feel. We’ll evaluate from there, (but) I should be good to go.”
Carpenter, who was injured while making a swing July 6 against Pittsburgh, hit with the nonstarters before running home to first, home to second, first to third and home to third. Carpenter also ran from first and slid into second.
“It’s a big step forward,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “We’ll stay with the process. Matt’s scheduled to probably go play somewhere pretty soon. (On Monday) he’ll probably be here to get some work, then we’ll evaluate.”
Carpenter suffered a similar injury in 2012 and missed one month.
“My injury in ’12 was a little bit more significant,” Carpenter said. “That being said, I’m almost on the same recovery schedule, and I think this injury isn’t as bad.
“It’s easy to go slow with an injury like this because it’s so painful at the beginning. Once you get past that, then it gets a little annoying because you feel like you’re ready to go. You feel like you’re fine, but you’ve got to be careful.”
Carpenter is batting .298 with 25 doubles, five triples, 14 home runs and 53 RBIs. He was injured soon after receiving word that he had made the National League All-Star team.
Rookie shortstop Aledmys Diaz was named to the team after Carpenter’s injury.
First baseman/outfielder Brandon Moss (sprained left ankle) and third baseman Jhonny Peralta (left thumb ligament strain) also are making gradual progress.
“It’s the same thing with Moss and Jhonny, too,” Matheny said. “They’re all progressing nicely. The reports I’m getting from the training staff have all been positive, but they don’t go any further than what they’re allowing them to.”
The Cardinals hoped Moss, who has whacked 17 home runs, could begin a rehabilitation assignment this week, but Moss said he is in no condition to play a game at any level.
Moss experiences no pain when he performs straight-ahead running drills, but when he attempts to cut at a base, he feels discomfort in the ankle.
“It gets better every day,” Moss said. “It’s still not good, but it’s getting better and I’m able to do more things. Hopefully, after a few more days of all this stuff, it will be better.
“It’s more than just about hitting the baseball and throwing the baseball. You have to be able to play the game. I don’t have as many answers as you would like.”
Matheny said Moss’ slow healing is “a little bit of a setback.”
“He’s swinging the bat really well in BP and everything he’s doing, it seems to be responding well,” Matheny said. “He’s just not running the bases (pain-free).”