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Wainwright making progress in return

Wainwright making progress in return

ST. LOUIS -- Like every other team in the country, the Cardinals got the day off from playing on Wednesday. That didn't stop a handful of the players from getting some work in, however.

While his teammates were either taking batting practice or jogging in the outfield, injured starter Adam Wainwright made progress toward coming off the disabled list. Wainwright, who sustained a sprain to the middle finger of his right hand, threw long toss from 120 feet on Wednesday and reported no pain.

"I think it's healed exactly like it's supposed to," Wainwright said. "I don't know where ESPN got their report that I had a setback, but it's exactly the opposite. I think it's going exactly how they thought it would and how we planned on it.

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"Now I just have to build that strength up."

Having no setbacks thus far has allowed the Cardinals to pencil in Wainwright for a return in the first week of August.

Since being placed on the DL, Wainwright has kept his mechanics sound through the use of rubber tubing and putty balls. With the damage only to his finger, Wainwright said he has not lost any of the strength in his arm.

For now, the plan is for Wainwright to throw long toss every other day until Sunday. The organization hopes at that point he will progress to throwing off the mound.

"The first couple of breaking balls are going to be, 'Let's not re-pop this thing,'" Wainwright said. "But I have every confidence that as soon as I get into my brain that my finger is healthy, I'll be fine."

Wainwright wasn't the only rehabbing Cardinal making progress on Wednesday afternoon. Outfielder Brian Barton took some swings during BP, and feels he is at the point where he is just about ready to rejoin the club.

On the DL since July 6 with a deep bone bruise to the right wrist, Barton is batting .246 in 63 games this year.

"I think it's more just rust than anything," Barton said. "Slight soreness, but I think that's a matter of getting the kinks out, getting the stiffness out.

"I was able to go home, rest a little bit and let it calm down a little bit. I'm ready to get back out there."

Lee Hurwitz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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