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Shoulder soreness slows Cooney's throwing

MLB.com @LangoschMLB

JUPITER, Fla. -- The Cardinals have modified the throwing program for starter Tim Cooney after determining an area of weakness around his left shoulder.

After throwing side sessions last Thursday and Saturday, Cooney notified the medical staff of shoulder soreness. Subsequent tests did not reveal any structural issues, but the Cardinals opted to pump the brakes on Cooney's mound work while he focuses on strengthening that area.

JUPITER, Fla. -- The Cardinals have modified the throwing program for starter Tim Cooney after determining an area of weakness around his left shoulder.

After throwing side sessions last Thursday and Saturday, Cooney notified the medical staff of shoulder soreness. Subsequent tests did not reveal any structural issues, but the Cardinals opted to pump the brakes on Cooney's mound work while he focuses on strengthening that area.

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Cooney speculated that the achiness may have been a product of increasing the intensity of his mound work too quickly.

"It's not ideal," Cooney said of the slowdown. "I'm itching to throw right now, because everyone else is. But I guess it beats it happening during the season. If we can get ahead of it, that would be good."

"He's actually very strong through his core and lower half, and there are some things we think he can do on the upper half that are a little different to help stabilize and prevent," added manager Mike Matheny. "That's where we are. We have an opportunity to maybe prevent an injury from popping up. We'll slow down and strengthen."

Cooney did some work with a medicine ball during Thursday's workout, and he said he hopes to be back on the mound within a few days.

If the setback is as minor as described, Cooney should not have any issues still building up arm strength before the close of camp. It is costing him an opportunity now, however, to make an impression in front of the coaching staff that will determine his Opening Day assignment.

Cooney, who made six spot starts for the Cardinals last season, entered camp as a candidate for a bullpen job and as potential rotation depth should a need arise there. His big league contributions likely would have been more extensive last season had an appendectomy not precluded him from being able to contribute down the stretch. Over his five July starts with the team, Cooney posted a 2.48 ERA.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

St. Louis Cardinals, Tim Cooney