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Smoltz is feeling much better

The Cardinals report this morning that John Smoltz's shoulder is responding well to treatment and extra rest and that he remains on pace to start against the Cubs this weekend.

That's good news as the team deals with the bloody nose that is a sweep at the hands of the first decent opponent it has faced in a while.

Smoltz originally said that he didn't plan to throw much -- if at all -- in the week before his scheduled Sunday start. But he told that his range of motion had returned so quickly that he planned to do a side session today or tomorrow.

"My routine in situations like this is two, three, four days, and I will be back out playing catch and throwing," Smoltz told "I can pitch through it. Tendinitis, in most cases, you warm up and get through the rough point and you don't miss a beat. But you know that it will take more and more of that and get harder and harder to get loose.

"I could definitely feel it right away," Smoltz said. "But I've pitched through a ton of that. It's not something you can't pitch through, but if given the opportunity to take a break, you're just way ahead of the game."

Smoltz is 1-1 with a 3.27 ERA in four starts since joining the Cardinals.