Wacha has sights set on Wednesday return

Wacha has sights set on Wednesday return

ST. LOUIS -- After facing four teammates during a 26-pitch batting-practice session on Monday, Michael Wacha left the field encouraged by how he felt during what might have been his final test before a return from the disabled list.

Wacha, who was placed on the DL with a stress reaction in his right shoulder on Aug. 9, hopes to be activated on Wednesday. At that time he would rejoin the Cardinals as a bullpen option.

"I feel like I can get hitters out, for sure, with the way [pitches] were coming out [of my hand]," Wacha said on Monday afternoon. "I felt really good out there on the mound. I was throwing it to where I wanted it to be. I was pretty happy with it."

Wacha tested his repertoire against Brayan Pena, Tommy Pham, Jose Martinez and Alberto Rosario during the first BP of his rehab process. Pena put three ground balls in play, while Martinez hit a fly ball to deep right-center. Wacha struck out Pham and Rosario.

Manager Mike Matheny, who watched the session from behind the batting cage, described Wacha as "great" afterward.

In order to return this quickly, Wacha has had to bypass the process of building up the arm strength necessary of a starting pitcher. As a result, the Cardinals are not immediately considering him as a rotation option. His first appearance in relief will be his first in a regular-season game since he was a rookie in 2013. He did pitch once out of the 'pen in the 2014 postseason, as well.

Wacha is expected to be one of two new relievers available to Matheny this week. Trevor Rosenthal, who threw BP on Saturday, is also on track to be activated any day now. Rosenthal has been sidelined since July 26 due to inflammation in his right shoulder.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.