Doctor's OK only thing left in Waino's way

Doctor's OK only thing left in Waino's way

ST. LOUIS -- Pleased with the crispness and command of the 27 pitches he threw in a simulated inning on Saturday, Adam Wainwright is now only a doctor's OK away from being another arm in manager Mike Matheny's bullpen.

Wainwright described Saturday's session as "much better" than the one he had on Wednesday, when, for the first time since tearing his left Achilles in late April, he tested his pitches against hitters -- six of them. He allowed a single up the middle to Jon Jay and then struck out four. A flyout to center by Pete Kozma ended the exercise.

"It felt like me out there today," Wainwright said. "That was incredibly uplifting. My leg feels great. My arm was solid, rebounded great. It was nice to be out there facing big league hitters."

Wainwright wrapped up the work by fielding a few ground balls and testing the leg covering first. He said those movements are "no big deal at all" and much less strenuous than the agility work he is doing with strength and conditioning coach Pete Prinzi on the side.

Wainwright plans to meet with the doctor who performed his Achilles surgery within the next two days, at which time he'll learn if he has clearance to make his next appearance in a much more meaningful setting. He hopes to be activated for the upcoming series in Pittsburgh, a series that will have division-title ramifications.

"I don't live for those types of things," he said -- tongue-in-cheek, of course. "It would be a good one. It would be good practice for the postseason, too."

Preparing to pitch in relief for the first time since 2006, Wainwright is beginning to ingratiate himself with his new bullpen mates. During a game earlier this week, he sat in the bullpen for one inning. The next day it was two. Then three. Then three and a half.

As Wainwright joked, "I'm building myself up."

In the meantime, the Cardinals are building up their expectations for him. Remember, just five months ago, Wainwright underwent surgery that came with a recovery time of nine to 12 months. Now the time is being measured in days.

"Certainly, today was a good day for him," general manager John Mozeliak said. "He certainly looked like he had a better feel for pitching today instead of simply throwing."

Worth noting

Yadier Molina (torn ligament in left thumb) will be re-evaluated by a team physician on Monday, at which time the Cardinals should have a better feel for when/if he may return. Molina sustained the njury last Sunday and has refrained from all baseball activities since.

• With his start on Saturday, Matt Holliday was in the lineup in back-to-back games for the first time since aggravating a quad injury on July 29. He has, however, yet to play a full game.

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.