St. Louis Cardinals

July 22, 2014

Siegrist close to being activated; Wacha making steady improvement

Reliever Kevin Siegrist has completed his minor-league rehab stint and could be activated by the St. Louis Cardinals as early as Wednesday.

Siegrist has been sidelined with a left forearm strain since May 24. He pitched five games for Class AA Springfield between July 12 and Monday and worked 4 2/3 scoreless innings.

"I feel good. The rehab went really well," Siegrist said. "I threw 27 pitches (Monday) and I've got today off. Everything went well."

The Cardinals have not told Siegrist when he will be activated, but Siegrist said the plan is not for him to return to the minors.

"We'll see what happens," Siegrist said. "It was a good time down there, getting my work in and seeing some old friends."

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said Siegrist would use Tuesday to recover while also being evaluated by the training staff.

Siegrist is comfortable with his mechanics, release point and velocity, which he said reached 95 mph.

"I couldn't wait to get back," said Siegrist, adding that he never envisioned being sidelined for two months. "It was probably the most frustrating thing you could go through. You just want to get back and help the team out in any way you can."

Wacha improving

Injured right-hander Michael Wacha, out with a stress reaction in his scapula, will begin a throwing program and will be re-evaluated in two weeks, with an eye on a September return.

"Positive news," Matheny said. "He's got a great place to start. We'll just continue to watch and hopefully we'll get more positive news. But he's still got some hurdles he has to get past."

Taveras sits

Even though the Cardinals faced right-hander Jake Odorizzi on Tuesday, left-handed-swinging Oscar Taveras did not play right field as Matheny instead opted for Allen Craig.

Matheny said Craig gave the Cardinals the best chance.

"Everybody knows we have to do what we can to win today," he said. "We're not in the development business. We've talked about that many times. There's times when you try and get guys exposure, but the overriding factor is we have to do what we can to win."

Matheny said Taveras will get plenty of opportunities, and that there are things the 22-year-old still needs to figure out.

Also, the Cardinals know Craig can be a productive player, based on what he has done in the past. Craig began Tuesday, however, batting just .244 with seven home runs and 44 RBIs.

"We're seeing some nice swings at times," Matheny said. "We're talking about a know quantity here, too. We're not speculating or guessing what Allen Craig can do. We've seen it for a few years. It's not just a fluke.

"I think what the fluke is is how rough it's been to get locked in for him this year. It's been tough for him. He's working through it and getting closer, in our opinion. We would love to see him come around and have the kind of second half we're a little more accustomed to seeing."

Contact reporter David Wilhelm at dwilhelm@bnd.com or 239-2665. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidMWilhelm.

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