MILWAUKEE -- Shelby Miller has had a great start to his season, and the right-hander gives a lot of credit to the veterans in the clubhouse.
The rotation had a Major League-leading 2.07 ERA heading into Saturday's game against the Brewers. Jake Westbrook has a 1.07 ERA and Adam Wainwright has a 2.03 ERA, while the 22-year-old Miller is at 1.96 after six starts.
"I'm in one of the best rotations in the league," he said. "I get to be around guys who have been around for awhile. Waino, Westbrook, guys who've had more time. It's fun to be around guys like that.
"You just learn things every single day. We watch each others' 'pens, we watch each other work, and it's just hands on every single day. It's a blessing for me. Not every organization has that."
Carpenter begins throwing program, no timetable set
MILWAUKEE -- Manager Mike Matheny said Saturday he would welcome the return of Chris Carpenter if the veteran right-hander is able to recover from pain in his right shoulder.
Carpenter, 38, has begun a throwing program at Busch Stadium after being shut down during Spring Training due to weakness and pain on his right side.
"This is probably going to be a bigger deal because everything was made out, or going in the direction, that maybe he's done," Matheny said before the Cardinals played the Brewers on Saturday. "But I think any player that may feel all of a sudden their health's allowing them to do things they didn't think they were going to do, they're going to go out there and see how far they can take it."
The team said it would follow a similar plan that was used in trying to rehab Jason Motte's elbow where the player gradually progresses to more vigorous throwing. Motte's attempt to rehab his elbow ended Friday when the team announced he would undergo Tommy John surgery.
There is no timetable for the 2005 National League Cy Young Award winner to return, but with the Cardinals starters doing an outstanding job he likely would join the bullpen.
"I can imagine him doing anything," Matheny said. "But once again right now he's just another injured player that's out there trying to get himself right. We're big fans of helping him try to get there and see what we've got when we get there."
Freese heating up after taking a break from slump
MILWAUKEE -- David Freese has swung the bat better since returning from two days on the bench.
The Cardinals third baseman was given Tuesday and Wednesday off after an 0-for-16 slump. He's had consecutive two-hit games since returning to the lineup against the Brewers.
"I've had a couple good days of quality at-bats and I'm feeling better," he said. "Like I said, soak it in, and turn the page, and come out tomorrow ready to go. Keep working."
Freese said he didn't make any adjustments.
"I'm just focusing on the baseball and trying to hit something hard," he said. "I think that's the key. You do that more times than not, you're going to help the team."
Young additions give Cards more bullpen options
MILWAUKEE -- While the Cardinals rotation entered play Saturday leading the Major Leagues with a 2.07 ERA, the bullpen was last among the 30 teams with a 5.67 ERA.
That doesn't mean opposing teams want to get the St. Louis starters out of the game. Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said it appears the Cardinals have an inexhaustible supply of flame-throwing pitching prospects.
Young hard-throwing right-handers Trevor Rosenthal and Carlos Martinez, whose contract was purchased Friday from Double-A Springfield, stymied the Brewers in the first two games of the series. Both were throwing in the mid to high-90s at Miller Park.
"And that's why I say, no matter what their [bullpen] numbers are, it's uncomfortable when you're facing a guy throwing that hard," Roenicke said.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said Martinez and Seth Maness, who each pitched a scoreless inning in their Major League debuts Friday night, give him more flexibility out of the bullpen.
"It definitely gives us more options," Matheny said. "They both have a real good dispositions to them. Carlos came off the field and wanted to start hugging people [Friday night]. You could tell how excited he really was. He came out of Double-A so you can understand why."
Both Martinez and Maness were starters in the Minors, but were available to pitch on consecutive days against the Brewers.
"It's kind of a new experience for them, but they've been built up and are well-rested," he said.
Joe DiGiovanni is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.