PITTSBURGH -- Pirates closer Matt Capps, who had been shut down since May 4 with right elbow discomfort, was cleared to return to the beleaguered bullpen Tuesday.
"Everything feels good," Capps reported before Tuesday's 7-1 win over the Cardinals. "I threw 35 pitches off the mound on Sunday, and it felt good yesterday, and it felt good today, and I'll get out there and have at it."
Capps pitched the ninth inning against the Cardinals in a non-save situation. After loading the bases on a single and two walks, he struck out Tyler Green and Jason LaRue and got Shane Robinson to fly out to shallow right.
That helped reduce Pittsburgh bullpen's ERA, which had risen to 4.93 going into the game.
"The guys need some rest," Capps said of his fellow relievers. "A lot of guys have been worked pretty hard in the last two weeks, and it's just a stretch that we've hit right now. We have to pull ourselves up out of it and move forward."
George Von Benko is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.