Rehabbing starters Garcia, Gonzales progressing

Recovering arms could become Cardinals rotation candidates shortly

Rehabbing starters Garcia, Gonzales progressing

ST. LOUIS -- While the Cardinals continued with their rolling auditions for a new fifth starter on Tuesday, a pair of lefties who could fit into that mix soon are making progress in their respective rehab programs.

Jaime Garcia (left shoulder inflammation) threw 70 pitches in an extended spring camp live batting practice on Tuesday, general manager John Mozeliak reported. Garcia was initially supposed to get his work in a game setting, but threatening weather necessitated a change in plans.

Nevertheless, Garcia threw more pitches in the session than he had in any such exercise since March 24. If Garcia's arm responds well to this latest push, he will begin a rehab assignment on Sunday. He can remain on that assignment for up to 30 days.

"I spoke to him afterwards. He feels good," Mozeliak said. "He says he feels a lot stronger. He's not dealing with that fatigue he felt in Spring Training. Speaking to him today, he was just extremely optimistic."

Marco Gonzales (tight left pectoral muscle) has responded well since resuming a throwing program late last week and is scheduled to return to the Triple-A rotation on Saturday. Gonzales, who last pitched on April 20, will be on a pitch count in that outing and is likely to need at least two starts with Memphis before being considered for a Major League spot.

Given the schedules of both pitchers, the Cardinals, after Tyler Lyons' start on Tuesday, are expected to need at least two additional spot starts from Lyons or someone else before Gonzales or Garcia would be considered ready.

"It's how they respond, how they bounce back, how effective they are and how efficient they are," Mozeliak said. "All those things go in to deciding whether he can go here."

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.