ST. LOUIS -- In what represented another step forward in his recovery from a right elbow injury, Cardinals reliever Matt Belisle faced three teammates -- Matt Holliday, Matt Adams and Pete Kozma -- in a live batting-practice session prior to Friday's game.
The episode, which Belisle expects to repeat in a few days, allowed the right-hander to gauge the command and crispness of his pitches. The command is still coming along, he said, but nevertheless asserted: "We're close."
With Jon Jay coming off the disabled list on Friday, Belisle, who has been out since June 26, seems likely to be the next of the team's six rehabbing players to return.
In addition to taking swings off Belisle, Holliday, with a team physician and athletic trainer watching, did some running in the outfield on Friday. Mobility has come along slower than the swing for Holliday, who has been sidelined by a right quad strain since July 30.
"I wish we could do that Little League thing," manager Mike Matheny said, "and let one guy just stay on the bench and go run for him."
Adams (right quad strain) continues to try and strengthen his left leg, which set him back last week. Randal Grichuk (right elbow inflammation) was scheduled to see a doctor after batting practice to learn whether he could begin throwing again.
• Paying up on a friendly wager the two made during Spring Training, Adam Wainwright presented Matt Carpenter with a purple golf cart, emblazoned with the logo of Carpenter's alma mater, Texas Christian University. Wainwright, who said he would buy Carpenter the golf cart if he had a 20-homer season, left his personal touch on the new ride, too, as he pasted his number (50) on the front and a decal reading "No. 50 Is My Hero" under the picture of the horned frog. Carpenter took the golf cart for a test drive once around the Busch Stadium warning track.
• The Cardinals selected infielder Aledmys Diaz and lefty Austin Gomber as their August Minor League player and pitcher of the month, respectively. Diaz played 18 games with the Double-A club and seven after a promotion to Triple-A Memphis. Combined, he hit .359 with eight doubles, six home runs, 19 RBIs and 14 runs scored.
Gomber won all four of his starts with Class A Peoria last month and allowed just one earned run over 25 2/3 innings (0.35 ERA). He walked seven and struck out 32.
• Matheny said he intends to announce the rotation order for the team's upcoming series against the Cubs (Monday-Wednesday) on Saturday. Lance Lynn and Michael Wacha, both of whom had starts pushed back this week, are expected to appear in that series.
• If the Cardinals do not need lefty Tyler Lyons to make another spot start next week, he will be available out of the bullpen beginning on Sunday. Lyons threw six innings as a fill-in starter for Wacha on Wednesday.