The messages from Chris Carpenter and Jaime Garcia were nearly the same Saturday, when each individually addressed the media during their appearances at the Cardinals' Winter Warm-Up event.

Both relayed positive reports about how their arms have responded to offseason work, but also cautioned against conclusions. The pair of pitchers -- who, if healthy, will make up two-fifths of the Cardinals' rotation -- said they won't feel in the clear from 2012 injury issues until their arms go through the test of Spring Training.

"Right now I'm in a stage of my career where my mind is never at ease with physical issues," said Carpenter, who turns 38 in April. "I feel good. And I feel healthy. But I felt that coming into last year, too, and it didn't work out. I know that my throwing is going well. I know that my shoulder is strong throughout exercise and throwing. I'm not having any issues."

Carpenter, who surprised most when he was able to return from midseason thoracic outlet syndrome and make six starts (regular season and postseason combined), began his offseason throwing program the first week of December. That is a month earlier than usual, though obviously there were no workload considerations since Carpenter logged only 30 2/3 innings last year.

"I was a little anxious about how I was going to feel and if I was going to feel well," Carpenter said. "When you go through all the stuff that I've gone through, there's always doubt in your mind when you pick up the ball -- what is it going to feel like? So far, it's felt good."

He'll arrive at the Cardinals' spring complex in Jupiter, Fla., well ahead of the team's required report date for pitchers and hopes that his Spring Training workload will not have to be modified. By making that late-season return in 2012, Carpenter at least alleviated any concerns about the thoracic outlet procedure hindering a return.