MILWAUKEE -- Right-hander Kyle McClellan declared himself "100 percent" after throwing a long session Friday afternoon.
McClellan is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained hip flexor, and said he should be ready to pitch Wednesday against the Nationals.
"I felt great," he said. "I didn't feel any discomfort, and I felt like I was well rested and my stuff was sharp. ... Yesterday was kind of like my game day -- a longer one -- and [Sunday] will be a light one, and then get ready for Wednesday."
McClellan, who is 6-2 with a 3.86 ERA this season, said Wednesday was the first time he didn't feel pain while pitching, and though he dubbed his return "a slow process," he said the swelling has mostly subsided.
On the other side of the clubhouse, outfielder Allen Craig's swollen right knee still won't allow him to play. Craig said he hoped to be able to return this series against the Brewers, but manager Tony La Russa said the team will have a decision to make in the coming days.
"I could walk around here fine, but that's not really being an athlete and going out there and playing a game," Craig said. "There's nothing structurally wrong with it, so it's just a matter of getting the swelling out. We're doing everything we can, icing it like 10 times a day, but I banged it pretty good. So it's going to take a little bit of time, but I don't think it's going to be much longer."
Slump causing Rasmus to press on offense
MILWAUKEE -- Cardinals manager Tony La Russa would like to chalk it up to youth. Center fielder Colby Rasmus thinks it's just part of a string of bad luck.
Either way, the 24-year-old went 2-for-19 over the past six games, bringing his batting average down to .261 entering Saturday. La Russa said he's come to expect young players to at times struggle when they have to learn to make adjustments, and he said Rasmus is no exception.
"I think it's just the whole process of learning," La Russa said. "We talk about adjusting, and you have to know what you're doing, and some of that you can't rush. ... It looks to me like he doesn't get really down, but adjusting is part of big league hitting, and you start to learn to make adjustments to the pitching."
Rasmus said his recent slump is the result of him pressing too much, and that it's hard not to think about the slump when he steps up to the plate. Rasmus went 1-for-4 Friday night, and was quick to point out that he's hit off Brewers Saturday starter Zack Greinke before.
The third-year Cardinal is 2-for-4 against Greinke for his career, but those two hits were enough to make Rasmus smile when asked if his slump is nearing its end.
"It can kind of wear on you. I know it does on me sometimes," he said. "Then I go into my next at-bat mad, just not in a positive attitude, and it shows and it starts a snowball effect. You try a bunch of different things, and some things aren't working, and you go from hitting .300 to .260, and you don't really know how it happened. But that's where you're at."
La Russa said Friday night's pregame ceremony honoring him for managing his 5,000th career game caught him off guard. La Russa was adamant about not wanting the personal milestone to take away from the series between the National League Central's two top teams, but he did appreciate the gesture.
"It's just a number, you don't want to distract from the series for either team, so I thought they handled it well," he said. "I mean, it was nice of them to do that. What'd it take, a minute?"
The move to put Lance Berkman in left field Friday night and Saturday and Jon Jay in right was made because La Russa wanted Berkman to have a shorter run in the outfield. Once Matt Holliday returns from the 15-day DL, Berkman will return to right field, La Russa said.
Audrey Snyder is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.