Lefty Garcia moving toward live BP session

Has not faced hitters since March 24 sim game

Lefty Garcia moving toward live BP session

ST. LOUIS -- If left-hander Jaime Garcia recovers well from the bullpen session he threw on Sunday and can repeat the exercise without issue on Wednesday, he is expected to face hitters in live batting practice at extended spring camp on Friday.

That would mark the first time Garcia has thrown to batters since March 24, when he threw 80 pitches in a simulated game toward the end of the Grapefruit League season. Garcia did not recover well from that outing and, as a result, opened the season on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in his left shoulder.

Garcia has not had another setback, though the challenge now is seeing how high he can push his pitch count. That would help determine how the Cardinals could potentially find a fit for Garcia on the Major League roster.

"As you saw in Spring Training, when Jaime was throwing, he seemed to do very well when he was in that 30-to-40 pitch range," Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said. "But when that started to expand, that's when things got a little more difficult for him. … He could certainly be a long man. But I think his goal is still to get back and be a starter, and I think that's how he wants us to push him."

The Cardinals hope Garcia will benefit from having a more relaxed schedule in extended camp than he did in Major League camp, where the Cardinals needed to push Garcia to pitch every five days to see if he could realistically be ready to open the year in the big league rotation. Now, the Cardinals have the flexibility to build in more rest, if needed, or pull back altogether if there is any level of concern.

Worth noting

• After missing the Cardinals' recent series in Cincinnati, catcher Tony Cruz was activated from the paternity list prior to Monday's game. Ed Easley, who did not make an appearance during his brief callup, was optioned back to Triple-A Memphis.

• Outfielder Tommy Pham (left-quad strain) is scheduled to be evaluated later this week to determine whether he can resume baseball activities.

"I think he's making baby steps," Mozeliak said of Pham's progress. "I think the best way to think about him right now is patience."

• The Cardinals will not hold a workout at Busch Stadium on Tuesday's off-day. Manager Mike Matheny said he wanted to give players and staff the day to settle into their local residences.

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