CHICAGO -- Three Cardinals pitchers recovering from injury will take another step toward rejoining the club as they head out to begin Minor League assignments this week.
Reliever Mitch Harris (right groin strain) joined Triple-A Memphis on Tuesday to begin his rehab stint. Reliever Jordan Walden (right biceps inflammation) will report to Double-A Springfield (Mo.) on Wednesday, while lefty Jaime Garcia (left groin strain) will make a rehab start for Class A Peoria on Thursday.
General manager John Mozeliak announced the assignments, though he did not speculate how long each of the three pitchers would remain with an affiliate before being considered ready to come off the disabled list. Both Harris and Walden are likely to have to prove themselves able to pitch multiple innings and on back-to-back days before being considered ready to return.
Walden, who has been sidelined since April 30, has been throwing off the mound for most of the month. Harris will be eligible for activation any time after Thursday.
The Cardinals are still hopeful that Garcia, who hasn't pitched since June 24, will return to the Major League rotation before the end of the month. Manager Mike Matheny guessed that Garcia would throw around 45-50 pitches in that outing. If needed, Garcia could then be ready to rejoin the Cardinals' rotation on a pitch count.
"We'll see how it goes and see what it looks like with us, too," Matheny said. "Definitely get that first one and adjust from there. It will be good to get him back on the mound."
• Matheny clarified his upcoming rotation plans, which required some shuffling after Carlos Martinez was forced to pitch four innings in Sunday's 18-inning loss. Lance Lynn and John Lackey will be pumped up to pitch on regular rest Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. The Cardinals will then have Tim Cooney, Martinez and Michael Wacha, in that order, pitch against the Braves over the weekend.
• Third baseman Matt Carpenter dropped to the seventh spot in the lineup on Tuesday, marking the lowest he's batted since he hit seventh on April 23, 2013. The move, Matheny explained, was made to try and jump-start Carpenter's bat. Also factoring into the lineup shuffle was the fact that the Cards were facing a lefty starter in the series opener against the White Sox.