Belisle cleared to amp up rehab program

Belisle cleared to amp up rehab program

PHOENIX -- Back from a quick jaunt to Florida to seek the opinion of orthopedist Dr. James Andrews, Cardinals pitcher Matt Belisle amplified the intensity of his throwing program on Tuesday.

Belisle, sidelined by an unusual right elbow injury since June 26, was given clearance by Andrews to make this next push, which includes a targeted resumption of throwing off the mound before the end of the team's road trip. Andrews reviewed the medical information Belisle had gathered during visits to other orthopedists before offering his recommendations.

"I was excited to collaborate with other doctors and everybody come to a good decision to say, 'Let's push and see what happens,'" Belisle said after finishing up his flat-ground throwing at Chase Field on Tuesday. "They agreed that [the injury] was kind of rare, and we're not 100 percent sure why some of the symptoms are where they are. But they felt good about me pushing from where I am now without worry about the repercussions of what that was going to do as I cross those lines."

Belisle began Tuesday's workout with a long-toss warmup, after which he shortened the distance and, as he described it, "really pumped up the accelerator on the intensity and velocity of my throws."

"It's an opportunity for him to move forward and figure out how it feels when he lets it go a little more," manager Mike Matheny added. "Today was a big day."

If Belisle's return-to-pitching program continues on this track without interruption, the Cardinals anticipate that Belisle, who had a 3.00 ERA in 30 pre-injury appearances, will be ready to return to the Major League club in mid-September.

"Put the throttle down," Belisle said, "and see what happens."

Worth noting

• Giving a thumbs up gesture as he walked through the clubhouse on Tuesday, infielder Greg Garcia assuaged concerns about a jammed right thumb that prompted his early departure from Monday's game. Garcia had his thumb lightly wrapped on Tuesday but was expected to be available off the bench. Garcia participated in batting practice prior to Tuesday's game.

Jon Jay (left wrist stress reaction) took batting practice for a second straight day on Tuesday. Matheny said Jay will do so "a couple more times" before being sent out on a Minor League rehab assignment.

Kolten Wong returned to the starting lineup after being unplugged for three games. Wong, hitless in his last eight at-bats, is mired in a 2-for-29 skid.

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.