ST. LOUIS (AP) -Chris Carpenter is itching to get back to work.
The St. Louis Cardinals ace was back at Busch Stadium on Wednesday, a day after undergoing arthroscopic elbow surgery to remove bone spurs.
Carpenter, who has been sidelined since working six innings in the season opener, said his therapy program begins Thursday. He'll remain in St. Louis for treatment while the team, after a day off, starts a nine-game trip to San Diego, Los Angeles and Detroit.
``For now it's just rest and getting rid of the swelling,'' Carpenter said. ``Once the swelling goes away we can start getting a little more aggressive.''
Before the surgery, the team said Carpenter would be sidelined at least three months. Dr. George Paletta said the right-hander likely would begin throwing in six weeks and then need about six more weeks to build up strength and stamina.
Carpenter, a 15-game winner last year and the NL Cy Young Award winner in 2005, said there was some sense of relief with the procedure behind him.
``It definitely feels good to know I'm not going to have to deal with it,'' Carpenter said. ``Now I'm looking forward to being healthy and 100 percent and not having to deal with wondering whether my elbow is going to swell up.''
Carpenter said he wasn't looking forward to the inactivity in his immediate future.
``It's not fun sitting around, not at all,'' he said. ``Hopefully the swelling will go away and I can get back in the gym and work out and start doing things to pass the time.''
Before the surgery, Paletta said it was important that Carpenter pitch again this season if for no other reason to assess any problems before spring training next year.
``Regardless of wherever the team stands come August and September, it's important to get Chris back pitching, get his confidence back and go through those first steps of returning to competitive play and not waiting until next season,'' Paletta said.
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