ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals' bullpen can no longer look forward to welcoming Kyle McClellan back during the second half of the season, as McClellan underwent right shoulder surgery earlier this week to address a slightly frayed labrum and a split shoulder capsule.
The rehab and recovery for these two procedures totals about four months, meaning that McClellan is done for the season.
"It's disappointing for sure," McClellan said on Thursday. "I thought I was so close [to returning]."
To hear that McClellan had surgery to address a shoulder issue was somewhat surprising, given that he was in the middle of a rehab program for his right elbow. He was diagnosed with a strained elbow following an abbreviated May 17 appearance in San Francisco and had just resumed throwing on July 3. The Cardinals anticipated him rejoining the club in early August.
As it turns out, McClellan's elbow problem appears to be tied to these shoulder injuries, which have been bothering the right-hander for more than a year. McClellan said on Thursday that he first felt something wrong with his shoulder when he warmed up before a June 15 game in Washington last year.
The discomfort "progressively got worse and worse over the season," McClellan explained, and the discomfort peaked in September. An MRI on McClellan's shoulder this offseason showed a small tear of the labrum, though that did not present any sizable red flags. Pitchers regularly pitch through minor labrum tears.
McClellan thought he could, too, though his inability to extend his shoulder properly left him unable to position his elbow as needed during his delivery. That, McClellan believes, led to the early-season elbow pain.
"I put my elbow at risk," McClellan said. "I couldn't get my elbow above my shoulder. Anybody who knows mechanics knows that is a must."
When McClellan was shut down in May because of elbow pain, he hoped that the six weeks of rest would also take care of the shoulder discomfort. But in his third session of long toss last week, McClellan still didn't feel right.
"It was the same thing," McClellan said. "If it's still going to be there and if it's going to lead to other possible issues, I had to have it looked at again."
He had another MRI on Monday, which again showed fraying of the labrum. At that time, he decided to have team physician Dr. George Paletta perform the procedure. It was during the surgery that Dr. Paletta discovered McClellan had a cracked shoulder capsule, something that does not show up on an MRI.
Had McClellan known all along that he was pitching with a split capsule, he said he likely would have elected surgery earlier.
"That's what the majority of the pain was coming from," McClellan said. "We had to [repair] it. It wasn't going to get any better. It was the right decision."
McClellan, whose right arm was in a sling on Thursday, will begin his new rehab program on Monday. Because the recovery time is fairly short, McClellan expects to have no limits with his offseason throwing program. That will allow the 28-year-old to be fully recovered in time for Spring Training 2013.
McClellan, who avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $2.5 million contract this winter, finishes the season having allowed 16 hits and 11 earned runs in 18 2/3 innings. He will be arbitration-eligible again next offseason.
Cards expect to activate Berkman during road trip
ST. LOUIS -- Lance Berkman will skip out on a Minor League rehab assignment and instead join the Cardinals for their upcoming road trip through Cincinnati and Milwaukee, which begins Friday. The club's expectation is that Berkman, who is working his way back from right knee surgery, will be activated some time during that six-day road swing.
Though Berkman hasn't played since May 19, he was not keen on the idea of spending a few days in the Minors to ensure that his body could handle the rigors of playing a full game before coming off the 15-day disabled list. He expressed this opinion to the Cardinals on Thursday, after which the determination was made that Berkman would wrap up his rehab work with the big league club.
"The knee is not an issue," Berkman said after participating in the team's workout at Busch Stadium on Thursday. "It wouldn't be to go down there and see if the knee can hold up under the duress of a live-game situation. I'd rather work my way back in at this level, and I feel like there's the personnel for me to be able to do that."
With Allen Craig, Carlos Beltran and Matt Carpenter available to play first base and right field, the Cardinals do have the luxury of easing Berkman back in when he is activated.
St. Louis intends to increase Berkman's on-field workouts on Friday to ensure that his body continues to respond appropriately. The organization will then make day-by-day evaluations of Berkman before deciding on which date he will return.
"He's actually running better than I've seen him in a while," manager Mike Matheny said. "But the timing is going to be tough. No question. To take a break that long and jump back into Major League speed isn't an easy task. We'll alter things a little bit [on Friday] and see how he responds."
Injuries have limited Berkman to only 13 games this season. He is batting .333 (14-for-42) with eight runs and four RBIs.
Lynn pushed back two days for extra rest
ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals will tweak their rotation coming out of the All-Star break in order to give Lance Lynn an extra two days of rest.
Instead of starting Lynn on Saturday, the Cardinals will have Kyle Lohse take the mound in the second game of a three-game series in Cincinnati. Lynn will then drop to Lohse's spot in the rotation and start for the club on Monday in Milwaukee.
The change in the rotation order was made after Lynn did not make an appearance in Tuesday's All-Star Game. The club also saw this as an opportunity to give Lynn, who has already thrown 103 innings, extended time off.
The first-year Cardinals starter is only 17 2/3 innings away from matching his 2011 total, which included time in the Minors, as well as regular season and postseason appearances.
By moving Lohse's start up two days, the right-hander will end up pitching in a setting where he has had much better success. The former Red is 8-7 with a 3.68 ERA in 20 games (19 starts) at Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park. In contrast, Lohse has posted a 6.95 ERA in nine games (eight starts) at Miller Park.
Lohse finished the first half of the season with a 9-2 record and a 2.79 ERA. Lynn, one of six Cardinal players selected for the National League All-Star team, is 11-4 with a 3.41 ERA.
The Cardinals held a workout at Busch Stadium on Thursday afternoon before boarding a flight to Cincinnati. Matheny encouraged players who participated in the All-Star Game to skip the workout, though Lynn, donning his new All-Star gold-plated spikes, did take the field to shag fly balls during batting practice.
Catcher Yadier Molina has returned from Puerto Rico after attending a family funeral in his home country. Molina missed the final three games of the first half, as well as the All-Star Game, due to the death of his wife's grandfather.
Right-hander Brandon Dickson was one of 11 pitchers to throw for the Pacific Coast League in Wednesday's Triple-A All-Star Game. He walked one and retired one batter in the ninth inning of the PCL's 3-0 win. Dickson was Memphis' only representative in the showcase game. He was named to the All-Star team when the Cardinals called up lefty reliever Barret Browning.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.