Chris Carpenter is expected to make his season debut for the Cardinals next week.

That's assuming, of course, that Saturday's 90-pitch simulated game goes off without a hitch. What day Carpenter will debut is still up in the air, but if he gets the ball on regular rest after his simulated game, he'll face the Astros on Thursday at Busch Stadium. It had been assumed the veteran right-hander would be lost for the season after he had surgery in July to alleviate the symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome, but he's progressed much quicker than anticipated.