Cards' Garcia ready for Triple-A rehab stint

Cards' Garcia ready for Triple-A rehab stint

ST. LOUIS -- Encouraged by how well lefty Jaime Garcia bounced back from a 70-pitch live-batting-practice session on Tuesday, general manager John Mozeliak announced that Garcia will begin a Minor League rehab assignment on Sunday with a start for Triple-A Memphis.

Garcia, who had to rebuild arm strength following a shutdown late in Spring Training, will be on a pitch count of between 70-80 in that outing. The Cardinals have the flexibility to extend that rehab assignment to 30 days, though the club hopes not to need a maximum stay. Garcia has had no setbacks since resuming a throwing program in early April.

"I feel like the difference between what we were seeing in spring and now is his ability to get past that 55-pitch mark and still feel strong," Mozeliak said on Wednesday. "And more importantly, the following day and the following day after that, he feels he's bouncing back just as if he's never pitched."

That's good news for Garcia and for the Cardinals, who are still in search of rotation help with Adam Wainwright out for the season. Garcia would be a candidate to fill that rotation void, as would lefty Marco Gonzales, who also is returning to the Memphis rotation this week.

Gonzales, who was placed on the Minor League disabled list after his April 20 start due to tightness in his left pectoral muscle, will throw about 60 pitches in a start on Saturday.

Worth noting

• Manager Mike Matheny said that, "as of right now," the club is leaning toward giving lefty Tyler Lyons another start. That start would come in Pittsburgh on Sunday.

Randal Grichuk, who has been on the 15-day disabled list since April 17 with a lower back strain, took batting practice on the field Tuesday and Wednesday for the first time since suffering the weight room injury. Grichuk will travel to Florida on Thursday to begin a stint playinng in extended spring games, during which he'll be able to load up on at-bats.

"I'm going to go down there and amplify baseball activity, see how I feel, get some at-bats, play in some extended games and see how it goes from there," said Grichuk, who has also pushed himself with more running work this week. "Little movements here and there, I still feel it. But it's a lot better. It's a positive progression, so I'm excited to get out of here and go get some at-bats."

• With Mitch Harris getting the win in Tuesday's game, a Cardinals reliever had earned the win in six straight games, a franchise record. Before this stretch, it hadn't happened in more than four consecutive games.

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.