Publish date:

Hamilton leaves game with jammed heel


SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) Texas Rangers left fielder Josh Hamilton has left the game against the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday because of a jammed right heel.

Hamilton hurt his foot in the top of the second inning when he stopped himself after fielding a double down the line by Todd Helton. He finished the inning then went to the clubhouse for treatment.

Hamilton flew out to left-center in the first inning and is 3 for 19 (.136) this spring. He returned to left field after serving as the team's designated hitter Tuesday.

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) Chris Carpenter noticed a crowd was steadily building behind the chain-link fence. Seems word had spread that the St. Louis Cardinals' ace was doing some throwing.

These days, even playing a few minutes of catch is a big deal.

"Amazing, isn't it? Did I do OK?" Carpenter asked afterward.

The reigning World Series champions certainly hope Carpenter did, since their rotation to open the season may depend on how he feels over the next few days. Carpenter's few minutes of catch with teammate Jake Westbrook on Wednesday may be considered a positive sign for the Cardinals, who have dealt with a flurry of injuries so far in camp - the status of the guy who won Game 7 of last year's World Series most prominent among them.

Carpenter took a spot in left field, alternating throws from between roughly 60 and 90 feet with Westbrook off the flat grass. No one, including Carpenter, can say for certain what the next step in his recovery from a sore neck caused by a bulging disc will be, and the April 4 season-opener at the Miami Marlins is looming fast.

"You're always frustrated if you can't play," Carpenter said after the throws. "I want to play, and I haven't been able to yet this spring. That's not what you're looking for, coming to spring training and not being able to get ready for the season. So there's always frustration. But you deal with it and move on and get ready to go."

Carpenter dealt with neck soreness last week, and was scratched from his first scheduled start of the spring on Monday because of the issue. The sense entering spring training was that the Cardinals would begin the 2012 season the same way they ended 2011, with Carpenter as the starting pitcher on the lineup card.

He turns 37 next month and threw 273 1-3 innings during last year's regular season and playoffs, the most in baseball since Curt Schilling pitched 305 and Randy Johnson pitched 291 as the teammates who led the Arizona Diamondbacks to the 2001 World Series title. Carpenter was 11-9 in the regular season, then 4-0 in the playoffs, winning deciding games against Philadelphia in the division series and Texas in the World Series.

So it was little surprise that the Cardinals took a cautious approach with Carpenter entering spring.

"That's just kind of how this game operates," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "Especially when you've got players who have been around a while. ... This team played 30 days longer than a lot of other teams (last season) and to discount that I think's a mistake. Trying to push these guys through something right now still doesn't make sense to me. They're going to be ready when the bell rings."

SI Recommends

Matheny's words don't just apply to Carpenter, either.

He said first baseman Lance Berkman tried to talk his way into Wednesday's lineup against the Houston Astros, but Matheny felt resting an achy left knee until Friday is the smarter call. Outfielder Carlos Beltran also got a day of rest Wednesday after making his in-the-field debut Tuesday against the Mets - "he felt great," Matheny said - and is expected to travel across the state with the Cardinals to Fort Myers for a game Thursday against Boston. Shortstop Rafael Furcal has been dealing with neck soreness in recent days as well, though was in Wednesday's lineup.

"We've had quite a few of these guys wanting to push through something and that just shows their character," Matheny said. "And I'll take the bullet for them and say, `Hey, it just makes more sense to sit right now.' It was another example today. Lance really wanted to play. To give him another day isn't going to hurt him."

Carpenter clearly is getting antsy to start getting ready.

He says he's been able to stay in shape through running and weightlifting, though his workouts have been a bit tempered of late because of the neck issue. Carpenter said he felt good Tuesday and that the plan was hatched for him to play catch if he showed up for work Wednesday without any setbacks.

Carpenter spent about an hour at his locker before the workout, chatting with Westbrook and Kyle Lohse. His only complaint was about the slow download speed on his phone, and the Cardinals would gladly take that problem over anything else.

"I'm going to continue to go in the right direction," Carpenter said. "We'll move forward and see what happens."

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Los Angeles Angels starter Ervin Santana left Wednesday's game after a line drive bruised his right, throwing arm.

Santana said he didn't need an X-ray and wasn't worried after he was struck in the front of his shoulder. He was able to field the ball and throw out Alexei Ramirez in the second inning with Los Angeles tied 0-0 with the Chicago White Sox.

The Angels staff checked on Santana, and he walked off the mound. Eddie McKiernan replaced Santana.

DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) -- New York Yankees pitcher Freddy Garcia left Wednesday's game with a bruised right, throwing hand after he was struck by a batted ball.

He was taken to Tampa for precautionary X-rays.

Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion, leading off the bottom of the fourth, drilled the second pitch up the middle. Garcia tried to field it and the ball ricocheted in the air. Encarnacion was safe on the hit and later scored on J.P. Arencibia's home run off reliever Cory Wade.