Cards expect Jaime to start in twin bill vs. Cubs
Holliday could return before All-Star break; Walden will not
ST. LOUIS -- Lefty Jaime Garcia returned to the mound on Saturday to throw his bullpen session, a necessary step before the Cardinals clear him to start in one of Tuesday's doubleheader games.
Garcia twice declined to comment on the session afterward, though manager Mike Matheny said it went fine and that "everything is pointing in the direction that he'll be OK." As long as Garcia recovers well from the test, he should make his scheduled start against the Cubs. Garcia last pitched on June 24, but he has since been dealing with a nagging left groin strain.
The Cardinals have not yet indicated whether Garcia will start the day or night portion of the twin bill. They are leaning toward bringing back lefty Tim Cooney to start the other doubleheader game. An official announcement regarding that assignment is likely to come on Sunday.
Left fielder Matt Holliday (right quad strain) may also make his return on the next road trip. He will travel with the club to Chicago (Monday-Wednesday) and Pittsburgh (July 9-12) with an eye on playing before the All-Star break. Holliday has taken batting practice this week without issue but still has to pass more intensive running tests before he can return.
"Still optimistic," Matheny said of getting Holliday back in the lineup next week. "We do have hopes, but understand, too, that if something doesn't feel right, look right, we can back off. But we'll continue to try to push him."
Reliever Jordan Walden, though also progressing, will not rejoin the club until after the All-Star break, Matheny confirmed. Walden, who has been on the disabled list since April 30 due to right biceps inflammation, began throwing off the mound this week to a standing-up catcher.
Walden plans to throw three bullpen sessions next week, after which the Cardinals will look to send the right-hander out on a Minor League rehab assignment.
"We're just playing it be ear," Walden said. "So far, so good."