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Wainwright ready to take next step

Special to MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- On Saturday, right-hander Adam Wainwright took another step forward toward his return from the right elbow injury that landed him on the disabled list on Aug. 18.

Wainwright felt good after throwing off flat ground on Saturday afternoon, before the Cardinals hosted the Pirates, and is ready to take the next step soon.

Full Game Coverage

ST. LOUIS -- On Saturday, right-hander Adam Wainwright took another step forward toward his return from the right elbow injury that landed him on the disabled list on Aug. 18.

Wainwright felt good after throwing off flat ground on Saturday afternoon, before the Cardinals hosted the Pirates, and is ready to take the next step soon.

Full Game Coverage

"I'm throwing off the mound Monday -- Monday or Tuesday, depending on the schedule," Wainwright said. "Then the next one will be a live session."

Wainwright (12-5) said that the way his arm is feeling now is the best it has felt since the first three innings of his July 22 start in Chicago. He made three more starts after that outing against the Cubs -- facing the Reds, Braves and Pirates -- but allowed nine runs on 15 hits in 11 innings.

"I threw a sinker today that actually sank, and it had late action and I went, 'That's what it feels like. That's nice,'" Wainwright said.

Manager Mike Matheny described Wainwright's throwing from flat ground on Saturday as "a step in the right direction."

Worth noting

• Triple-A Memphis has had a historic season, going 91-50, but the Redbirds go into their Pacific Coast League American Conference Championship Series on Saturday night trailing the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, 2-1, in the best-of-five semifinal series.

Memphis rallied late in Game 3 on Friday night, scoring seven runs in the eighth and one in the ninth, but lost, 16-15, at Colorado Springs.

The Redbirds need a win on Saturday night to extend the series to a fifth game.

• The Class A Peoria Chiefs' season came to an end on Friday night with an 8-5 loss to the Quad Cities River Bandits in Game 3 of the Western Division playoff series.

The Chiefs, who entered the playoffs as a wild card team, won Game 1 of the best-of-three series but then lost the next two games.

Nate Latsch is a contributor to MLB.com based in St. Louis.

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

St. Louis Cardinals, Adam Wainwright