ST. LOUIS -- Reliever Eduardo Sanchez took a significant step forward on Wednesday in his rehabilitation from a right shoulder injury.
Sanchez, who has not pitched in a Major League game since June 12, threw aggressively off of a mound on Wednesday afternoon prior to the Cardinals' game against the Brewers. He threw at something close to regular-game intensity, and even sat down in between simulated "innings."
The rookie right-hander indicated that he believes he's very close to being able to return to active duty. He said that it was a relief to be able to throw at the level he did, and that it went well.
Manager Tony La Russa expressed a little more caution regarding Sanchez, but still believes that Sanchez will pitch for the Cardinals again in 2011.
"I think he's going to throw a little bit more [before pitching in a game]," La Russa said. "Maybe [he will be activated] next week, week after, the last week. Make sure he throws enough.
"It's just whenever he's ready. When he's ready, he pitches. They want to be certain. They've done a lot to get him right."
Garcia stays on extra rest as Cards set rotation
ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals will shuffle their starting rotation slightly for this weekend's series against the Braves. However, considering the recent adjustments that left Kyle Lohse and Jaime Garcia pitching on a week's rest (or more), the latest nudge is very slight.
After an off-day Thursday, Edwin Jackson will pitch Friday. Jackson will be working on his regular four days' rest, the only pitcher who will not get an extra day after the off-day. Garcia will pitch on Saturday on six days' rest, followed by Jake Westbrook on Sunday on five days' rest.
For the following series, at Pittsburgh, Kyle Lohse and Chris Carpenter will go on Monday and Tuesday, each on five days' rest. Manager Tony La Russa noted that by moving Garcia, the only left-hander in the rotation, he ensures that Garcia will pitch during the Sept. 16-19 series at Philadelphia.
"And," La Russa added, "I think every day he gets extra it's always good for him. He's still a young, developing pitcher."
Rookie Brandon Dickson, who made a spot start last week in Milwaukee, is not slotted for any more starts this season. La Russa said that he has sketched out his rotation for the remainder of 2011, and that the plan includes only his regular five starters.
David Freese, slumping of late, was held out of the starting lineup on Wednesday against Zack Greinke and the Brewers. Daniel Descalso got the start at third base instead. Freese entered Wednesday's game 11-for-58 (.190) over his previous 15 games.
Infielder Tyler Greene is likely to get a start over the weekend against the Braves. Greene is the only one of the Cardinals' September callups who figures to get more than tactical usage over the season's final three weeks.
The Cardinals observed a moment of silence prior to Wednesday's game in honor of former St. Louis Blues players Pavol Demitra and Igor Korolev, who were among the more than 40 people who perished in a plane crash in Russia on Wednesday.
Manager Tony La Russa attended Tuesday night's Santana concert at the Fox Theatre in St. Louis. La Russa hurried over to the venue as soon as he was done with his postgame news conference, and even briefly appeared on stage with the band, shaking maracas.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.