For Belisle, rest a priority in elbow rehab

With timetable unclear, Cardinals reliever making sure not to rush return

For Belisle, rest a priority in elbow rehab

CHICAGO -- While the Cardinals sent two of their injured relievers out on Minor League rehab assignments this week, another still awaits clearance to resume playing catch.

Right-hander Matt Belisle's recovery timetable remains much fuzzier than those for Mitch Harris and Jordan Walden, who are now getting some work off the mound with the organization's affiliates. But it's currently a wait-and-see approach for Belisle, who has been told that rushing back before the irritation in his elbow clears could exacerbate the problem.

"We're just progressing each day to ensure that we don't take any steps back," Belisle said from U.S. Cellular Field on Wednesday. "I think we've pinpointed a little bit more the source of the issue, and I have a much better idea of how to attack the protocol to get me back pitching more quickly. In the interim, this extra bit of rest, although it's tough to do, is going to get me back quicker."

Belisle used the analogy of a sprained ankle to describe what's going on around his elbow. The medical staff identified a mild strain of a ligament near a joint in the forearm. There is no concern over additional structural issues, Belisle said.

"From what they're looking at, the medical team is confident that by biting the bullet a little bit longer on the rest, I'll be better off," Belisle said. "My whole mindset is just to take care of the minutes and the hours and the days and not look at anything past that. Everybody wants to know when [I'll be back], but it's better just to bracket it into days and weeks and make sure I'm seeing an improvement."

In the interim, Belisle's work has been limited to running, core exercises and lower body workouts. He has been on the 15-day disabled list since June 26, but he does acknowledge feeling improvement around his elbow over the last few weeks.

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