But the Cardinals don't know if he'll be able to pitch this season.
General manager John Mozeliak said Friday it's too early to say whether to be optimistic about the 2005 NL Cy Young Award winner, who won a game in each round of the postseason last fall. Team doctors identified the injury as thoracic outlet syndrome, and Mozeliak said Carpenter could undergo surgery in the offseason that could sideline him as long as a year.
"The fact he's been cleared to start throwing again is good news," Mozeliak said. "But as far as gauging probability as to what we can expect from him this year I think it's a little too early."
Both Mozeliak and manager Mike Matheny said the team would take it day by day with the 37-year-old Carpenter, who broke down in spring training after throwing 273 1-3 innings in the 2011 regular season and postseason combined.
Carpenter returned after having the shoulder examined in Dallas. He had problems with weakness after throwing to hitters a week ago in Kansas City. The team is somewhat encouraged considering when Carpenter was injured in spring training it took a month before strength returned.
"They've seemed to have found a title to what he has, which I think is comforting to him, comforting to all of us," Matheny said. "But there's still not a real good game plan or protocol. It's mostly going to go on how he feels."
The news is more encouraging for first baseman Lance Berkman, out with a knee injury since late May. He is scheduled to join the team Sunday to begin baseball activities, and could rejoin the lineup after the All-Star break.
Left-hander Jaime Garcia, sidelined by a shoulder strain since early June, is set to begin a throwing program on Tuesday but is not expected back before August. Right-handed reliever Kyle McClellan, who has an elbow strain, also could begin a throwing program next week that'll put him on track to return in August.
Florida State outfielder James Ramsey, one of the Cardinals' five first-day draft picks, signed a contract Friday and then had a stint in the batting cage. Ramsey will begin his career at Class A Palm Beach.