ST. LOUIS -- Chris Carpenter elected to take on extra day before he came to visit his teammates. The day after he underwent reconstructive elbow surgery wasn't the best day for him to make an appearance at Busch Stadium.

"[Wednesday], it was sore a little bit," said Carpenter, who had Tommy John ligament replacement surgery on Tuesday. "I was on a little bit of medication, so I wasn't going to come down here and make a fool out of myself. It's nice to come around and see the guys and be around the atmosphere."

Carpenter visited teammates and spoke with reporters on Thursday. He said he was pleased with how his operation went, and spoke up for Dr. George Paletta, who performed the procedure.

"I think Doc's great," Carpenter said. "I respect him very much. I had the option to go see anybody I wanted to go see, and I chose Paletta to do it because I trust him. I respect him. I think he's a great surgeon. To be honest with you, I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for him. He's the one who fixed my shoulder [in 2003]."

The 2005 Cy Young winner said he expects the typical 12-month rehabilitation period to hold for him. He intends to pitch in the second half of the 2008 season.

"I obviously was disappointed and frustrated and upset for a few days," he said. "It wasn't what I was expecting. It wasn't the news that I was hoping for. But I'm a strong man and I'm going to be able to deal with it. I dealt with it for a few days, and me and my wife and family dealt with it, and we moved on.

"This is what happens in this game. I will be ready to go mentally and ready to go physically as hard as I can go as soon as they let me. I'm going to do everything I can to get back as quickly as possible and pitch in '08."

Johnson making progress: Tyler Johnson (left biceps tendinitis) threw a bullpen session on Thursday, his second since going on the disabled list, and the Cardinals are optimistic about how the left-hander is coming along. It's possible that the next time Johnson throws, it will be either a simulated inning or a rehabilitation assignment.

Manager Tony La Russa said that simulated action might be enough for Johnson, rather than sending him out on a Minor League assignment.

"I think it's at least something that you would consider," La Russa said. "He's going to throw to hitters. But whether it has to be in a game or not [is uncertain]."

Johnson has been pleased with how he has felt. He's looking for command, above all else, as the indicator that he's ready to pitch in games.

"[The key is whether] I can locate a pitch -- if my slider is there and my fastball is there and I'm not missing too much from what I had," Johnson said

"I feel like I'm ready to go. We're being cautious and all that stuff just to make sure I don't end up going right back on the DL after one outing."

This date in Cardinals history: On July 26, 1964, the Cardinals' surge to the top of the National League really gained some traction. St. Louis swept a doubleheader from the first-place Phillies, 6-1 and 4-1, pulling within seven games. Curt Flood had five RBIs on the day, and Bill White had five hits. Thanks to Project Retrosheet for the information.

Baby 'Birds: Rick Ankiel went 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs for Triple-A Memphis, leading the Redbirds to a 4-2 win over Sacramento on Wednesday. ... Bryan Anderson singled, doubled and drew two walks as part of a team-wide offensive outburst, but Double-A Springfield lost to Arkansas, 13-8, on Wednesday. ... Class A Palm Beach dropped a doubleheader Wednesday against Daytona, 5-2 and 6-3. A.J. Van Slyke was 4-for-6 on the day. ... Class A Quad Cities was off Wednesday.

Jess Todd pitched brilliantly for short-season Batavia on Wednesday, getting the win for three dominating innings of relief. Todd allowed three hits and two walks, but struck out seven and didn't allow a run. ... Rookie-level Johnson City rallied for two runs in the ninth to force extra innings, but lost to Greeneville, 6-5, in 14 frames on Wednesday. Dognnt Bolivar went 3-for-6.

On a big day for the Springfield offense, player of the day honors go to leadoff man Sean Danielson. The outfielder went 3-for-6 with a home run, two runs and three RBIs. Danielson, 24, signed with the Cardinals organization as a non-drafted free agent in 2005.

Coming up: The first-place Brewers come to Busch Stadium for a four-game, three-day series starting on Friday. Mike Maroth will pitch the series opener for St. Louis against Claudio Vargas, with first pitch set for 7:10 p.m. CT.