Pena thrilled with rehab progress

Pena thrilled with rehab progress

ST. LOUIS -- Injured Cardinals catcher Brayan Pena described Friday as "a big step for my recovery" after wrapping up a rehab session that included his first swings since undergoing left knee surgery in early April.

Pena, a switch-hitter, received clearance to hit off the tee before Friday's series opener against the Pirates and took 60 swings from the left side and another 60 from the right side. He also threw at a distance of 120 feet and then moved to the treadmill, where he ran at 75 percent effort for about 20 minutes. Pena completed each task without issue.

"After doing everything I did today, and for me to finish on the treadmill without feeling any pain or soreness, it was very good," Pena said. "They say that I'm a little bit ahead of schedule. I wasn't expecting to hit this soon, and for me to go out there and hit the way I did, I felt like a 20-year-old again."

Pena will attempt to repeat the rotation of exercises on Saturday to make sure he's recovering as expected, and then he'll slowly add in more work as he reaches subsequent benchmarks. Pena expects to have a better grasp on a timetable for his return once he resumes catching and squatting.

"I feel like the fans don't know who I am. My teammates don't know who I am," said Pena, who signed a two-year deal with St. Louis over the offseason. "I want to be able to be with my teammates on the baseball field and grind it out with them."

Worth noting

• Outfielder Tommy Pham (left oblique strain) went 1-for-5 with two RBIs and a stolen base in his first two games of a rehab assignment with Triple-A Memphis. The Cardinals have not specified how many at-bats they'd like Pham to take before coming off the disabled list.

• First baseman Matt Adams said he was still dealing with some soreness on Friday, a day after taking a knee to his left leg during a contact play at first base. He underwent treatment prior to Friday's game and completed some light exercises. The Cardinals expected him to be available off the bench.

• The Cardinals placed a limited number of loge and pavilion tickets on sale for the team's Strikeout Cancer Night at Busch Stadium on May 18. For each $15 ticket purchased, the Cardinals will donate $5 to the foundation of former Cardinals reliever Jason Motte, who will be in town that night as a member of the Rockies organization. For more information on the ticket special, visit cardinals.com/kcancer.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. 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.