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09/11/11 2:58 PM ET

Wainwright's first bullpen session on horizon

Program has righty in line to pitch to crouching catcher next week

ST. LOUIS -- Adam Wainwright is one week away from throwing a bullpen session.

Wainwright will not accompany the Cardinals on their upcoming road trip, instead staying in St. Louis to go through his last week of throwing to a standing catcher. He will continue the program he's followed in recent weeks, throwing from a long distance before getting on a mound and pitching to a standing catcher. He'll do that three times this week, and then early next week, he will throw to a catcher in a crouch.

It will be the first bullpen session Wainwright has thrown since undergoing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery during Spring Training.

The right-hander has acknowledged that it is essentially impossible that he could pitch in any games this year. However, he said that he still keeps the thought in his mind when he's working.

"When I think, 'Yeah, I'm working for next year,' it's too far off," Wainwright said. "I need something I can see."

Sanchez to join Cards; role in 'pen uncertain

ST. LOUIS -- Eduardo Sanchez's next time pitching could be in a game for the Cardinals.

Sanchez faced hitters on Saturday and said Sunday morning that he came through the session feeling fine. Sanchez will accompany the Cardinals to Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and could pitch in one of the games on the upcoming trip. The rookie right-hander has not pitched in a game since June 12 due to a right shoulder injury.

However, manager Tony La Russa said Sunday that he's in no hurry to get Sanchez into a game.

Given the uncertainty surrounding Sanchez -- he didn't make any Minor League rehabilitation appearances -- the situation would have to be chosen carefully. The Cardinals are still in the hunt for a playoff spot, and it's no given that Sanchez is as sharp as he would need to be to pitch key innings in a pennant race.

So it's possible that Sanchez will continue to throw on the side and might not get into many (or even, possibly, any) games before the end of the season. Still, the Cardinals consider it a victory that he has rehabbed as far as he has and is healthy enough to face hitters.


• Class A Quad Cities won the first game of the Midwest League championship series on Saturday, beating Kane County, 7-0. Trevor Rosenthal pitched a four-hit shutout with three strikeouts and no walks.

• Jason Motte became the fourth Cardinals pitcher to record at least four saves with his fourth on Saturday, joining Fernando Salas (23), Eduardo Sanchez (five) and Mitchell Boggs (four). Four other players have recorded one save each: Ryan Franklin, Trever Miller, Lance Lynn and Octavio Dotel.

• Numerous Cardinals players donned NFL jerseys in the clubhouse on Sunday morning in honor of the beginning of the football season.

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.