Siegrist 'probably 100 percent' on road back to Cards

Left-handed reliever dealt with nagging arm injuries during 2014 season

Siegrist 'probably 100 percent' on road back to Cards

ST. LOUIS -- Kevin Siegrist, whose 2014 season was marred by arm injuries, is progressing through an accelerated offseason throwing program that has already had him throwing long toss, playing catch on flat ground and has his first mound session scheduled for the coming week.

It's all positive progress for Siegrist, who ended last season not healthy enough to be considered for a postseason roster spot. It was a disappointing finish for a pitcher who opened the year projected to be the Cardinals' lefty setup reliever.

"It did teach me patience," Siegrist said. "It taught me my own body. I think part of it, too, was the World Series [in 2013], I had such a short break that maybe I didn't know how to prepare myself going into the season. This season, it's probably the best I've felt in an offseason physically and throwing. I've got to kind of learn from that moving forward."

Siegrist went on the disabled list late last May, and he remained there for two months as he dealt with a forearm strain. His return was rocky, and poor results led to a brief demotion to Triple-A and then a late-season shutdown when the nerve issue in his forearm continued to limit the extension he could get in his release.

Siegrist is hopeful that rest is the remedy, and he remarked about already feeling a difference, even in these winter workout sessions.

"I can tell right away that it's definitely better, and that it's probably 100 percent," Siegrist said. "Just the way the ball comes out of my hand throwing long toss compared to last year where I knew that something wasn't really right with it. It's definitely giving me a lot of confidence moving forward into Spring Training because it feels good."

If healthy, Siegrist could pitch himself back into a late-inning role with the Cardinals. The club does have a saturation of lefty relief, though, and that will bring some added competition as St. Louis tries to best fill its 'pen.

Aside from showcasing his health, Siegrist also intends to use the spring as a time to continue refining his slider, a pitch that he was trying to throw harder before injuries stalled his 2014 season.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.