ST. LOUIS -- Injured Cardinals pitcher Kyle Lohse will not begin throwing this week, but the right-hander said on Sunday that he's very pleased with his rehabilitation from right forearm surgery.

"I'm excited about where it's going and ready to hit the next stage, but we've just got to wait till I get the full blessing of everybody to go ahead," Lohse said. "I think once I start throwing, it will start speeding up."

Lohse had hoped to begin a throwing program Monday. He said that will not happen but asserted that he has not had a setback and, in fact, is progressing well.

"I thought at the beginning of this week that I was headed toward throwing on Monday, but all the doctors got together and just wanted to give it a little more chance to heal," he said. "The reason they gave was that originally they were just going to [operate on] the one muscle that showed up in the MRI, but just to make sure there wasn't any further problem, they did all the muscles. So they just want to make sure, because [the surgery] was a bit more intrusive.

"They want to make sure they give it a little more time to heal, because in their eyes, the worst thing I could do at this point is to go out and try to start throwing when you're still trying to strengthen. I feel like the strength is really good. I've got my full range of motion back now. It's just a matter of, there's still some bruising in there."

Lohse declined to say when he expects to begin throwing, but he did not give the impression that the date is far off. He has a full range of motion with his right wrist and said his strength is well on its way.

"You can't get completely strong until it's fully healed, which I think it's pretty much there," he said. "But to take a couple extra days here, hopefully it balances out that when I start throwing I won't have any setbacks."

Motte looks strong in earning third save

ST. LOUIS -- Cards reliever Jason Motte's third big league save was his toughest, not to mention his most unexpected.

When Ryan Franklin looked shaky after entering Saturday night's Cardinals-A's game at Busch Stadium, manager Tony La Russa utilized a quick hook, getting his closer out of the game and bringing Motte into a tight spot -- two on, nobody out, a three-run lead already narrowed to two. Motte allowed one run to cross but got out of the jam, continuing an outstanding run of late.

"You get that really challenging assignment, and you pass it, you're going to gain confidence," La Russa said. "And you will have a chance for more success."

Motte downplayed any future value to the experience, however.

"I just kind of go out there and do my thing," he said. "I try to keep it as simple as possible and try to get the guy at the plate out."

The young flamethrower could have another opportunity on Sunday, as Franklin's availability was in question for the series finale. Franklin pitched each of the past two games, and was not feeling well on Sunday morning.

Cards will use DH role to spell regulars

ST. LOUIS -- With a six-game Interleague road trip coming up, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa has a welcome opportunity when he makes out his lineup cards. He can use the designated-hitter spot to give some of his players a partial day off.

One such player may be Ryan Ludwick, whom, La Russa has previously noted, plays a high-impact style and benefits from occasional maintenance days. But Ludwick likely won't be the only one. The Cardinals will probably rotate their designated hitter over their six games in Toronto and Kansas City.

"You look and see who needs to get off their feet," La Russa said. "Like a Ludwick might need to get off his feet one of those games. Who plays in his place? I don't know. That's the one plus I like about the six games, is that it gives our bench players [some chances to play]. Somebody's going to play."

Baby 'Birds

Adam Ottavino picked up the win for Triple-A Memphis after 6 2/3 innings of two-run ball Saturday. Punching out six batters, Ottavino had his best start since being sent down from the Major League club. Allen Craig, another player who has spent time in the big leagues this summer, led the offense with four RBIs, including a three-run homer in the Redbirds' 7-2 victory. ... Double-A Springfield struggled with its pitching for the second day in a row, losing, 11-8, at Northwest Arkansas. Gary Daley was responsible for the majority of the damage, allowing seven runs off nine hits in 5 1/3 inning of work. Tyler Henley continued on his hot streak with three more base hits, including two doubles. He is batting .463 over his past 10 games. ... Class A Palm Beach benefited from a sterling start from Arquimedes Nieto, winning, 6-2, over St. Lucie. Nieto tossed seven innings, gave up two runs and struck out seven. ... The Class A Quad City River Bandits locked up their first playoff spot since 2007 with a 7-3 win. Devin Goodwin led the way with a three-run blast while Jason Stidham chipped in three base knocks.

-- Michael Bleach

Worth noting

Cardinals bench players Randy Winn, Nick Stavinoha and Aaron Miles took a form of ramped-up batting practice on Sunday morning, facing a batting practice pitcher who threw off the regular mound and threw offspeed pitches as well as fastball. The drill is intended to help players stay sharp who aren't playing regularly. ... Third baseman David Freese got an off-day on Sunday, with Felipe Lopez starting in his place. ... Jason LaRue's start on Sunday was his ninth this season, but he still has yet to catch any of the Cardinals' top three starters: Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter and Jaime Garcia.