MIAMI -- Rafael Furcal has started to turn things around at the plate, and so too has the Cardinals' offense.
After a hot start to the season and hitting .333 through the first two months of the schedule, Furcal cooled off considerably to start June. Through the first 19 days of the month, Furcal hit just .134 (9-for-67) with three walks and five runs scored.
In his last five games, though, the shortstop is 7-for-19 (.368) with six walks and six runs scored.
"Sometimes you ... just fight to get the feel," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "But he's doing a nice job now."
It's no coincidence that as Furcal, who has started 67 of the Cardinals' first 73 games in the leadoff spot, has gotten back into a groove at the plate, St. Louis' offensive production has picked up considerably, too.
During the same five-game span, the Cardinals scored 35 runs and registered 59 hits, including 30 runs on 41 hits during a three-game sweep of the Royals in Kansas City. In the club's previous 17 games to start the month, it averaged just 3.65 runs per game.
"I don't want to put pressure on him to say the offense only goes when he goes," Matheny said, "but when he gets things going, it seems like they keep coming."
Cards postpone Carp's live throwing session
MIAMI -- Chris Carpenter's next step toward recovering from a right shoulder injury was put on hold Monday in Miami.
The right-handed pitcher threw a live batting-practice session Friday in Kansas City, and he was expected to complete a second session Monday afternoon before the Cardinals opened a three-game set with the Marlins at Marlins Park. That plan was shelved Monday when Carpenter didn't respond the way the team expected from his first session.
"He just didn't feel strong, so we're waiting until we get back home," manager Mike Matheny said. "There isn't a big rush. ... We've been doing that from Day 1 -- seeing how it feels each time before jumping right into another live session. Take a little more time and get back home."
Following their three-game series in Miami, the Cardinals have an off-day Thursday and then return home Friday. At that time, the team will decide when the next step in the rehab process will take place for Carpenter, who has been on the disabled list since March 26.
His BP session in Kansas City marked the first time Carpenter faced live hitters since March 18, during Spring Training. It was after that session that the team shut down the righty due to a nerve issue that limited the strength in his throwing shoulder.
Prior to Monday's revelation, Carpenter had not experienced any setbacks since resuming a throwing program earlier this month. After Friday's session, Carpenter emphasized that his strength felt like it did prior to the injury, and that the rehab process was focused on his endurance and refining his pitches.
It is unclear if Carpenter will be able to pick up where he left off following his first session against live hitters when the team decides to take the next step with him.
"That's the whole thing about this, we really don't have anything to go off of," Matheny said. "There really isn't any history anywhere to tell us where he should be and what he should do, how much time he should take in between [throwing]. ... That's why we've been so careful with him.
"We're very careful not to put a level of expectation on what he has to do, where he has to meet this deadline. We just keep moving forward."
Marlins give Matheny third base from Opening Night
MIAMI -- Cardinals manager Mike Matheny had a surprise waiting for him when he arrived in the visitors' clubhouse at Marlins Park on Monday.
Prior to the series opener, Marlins president David Samson came down to the Cards' clubhouse and presented Matheny with the third base used on Opening Night, April 4, when the defending World Series champion Cardinals beat the Marlins, 4-1, in the inaugural game at Marlins Park.
Matheny was working out when Samson came down and presented him with the gift, which was meant to commemorate Matheny's first game as a Major League manager.
"It was very thoughtful," Matheny said. "I'll certainly have a spot for it."
The base isn't the only memento Matheny has been given from the Cardinals' Opening Night win. Catcher Yadier Molina gave Matheny the game ball from the final out, assistant trainer Chris Conroy took his "maiden voyage" with calligraphy on a game ball for the skipper, and Matheny also kept the lineup card from the matchup.
"I'll display all of that somewhere sometime," Matheny said.
Palm Beach Cardinals outfielder Mike Swinson was suspended 50 games without pay Monday after he tested positive for Methylhexanimine, a performance-enhancing substance in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
Matheny said first baseman Lance Berkman, who has been on the disabled list since May 20 with a torn meniscus in his right knee, continues to progress in his recovery and plans to visit the team when it returns to St. Louis on Friday.
"I'm excited about that, to start having him around," Matheny said.
Matheny said it took the team an hour to get to Marlins Park -- three miles from the team hotel -- on Monday because traffic throughout the area was logjammed due to the Miami Heat's victory parade, which was held in downtown Miami late Monday morning.
Tom Green is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.