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5/24/2013 10:47 P.M. ET

Prospect Taveras closer to return from injury

LOS ANGELES -- Outfielder Oscar Taveras, who has been sidelined by an ankle injury since May 12, is moving closer to a return, farm director John Vuch said on Friday.

Vuch said that Sunday is now the target date for Taveras to be inserted back into the Triple-A lineup. The Cardinals have been conservative with the amount of work they have allowed Taveras to do since he sprained his ankle sliding into second base. He has resumed running and agility drills.

Taveras, ranked by MLB.com as baseball's third-best prospect, has not been placed on the disabled list during this absence.

Other news from the Cardinals' farm system:

• The organization has released left-hander Barret Browning and catcher J.R. Towles. Browning pitched in 22 games for the Cardinals last season when the organization needed a second lefty in the bullpen. He was taken off the 40-man roster during the offseason. Both Towles and Browning played for Triple-A Memphis this season.

• Left-hander Tim Cooney allowed one run on four hits in seven innings for Double-A Springfield on Thursday, though he came out on the losing end. Since being promoted to Double-A, Cooney has allowed four earned runs in 18 innings. He has struck out 21, while walking just three.

• Kolten Wong, ranked by MLB.com as the Cardinals' third-best prospect, entered Friday riding a 12-game hitting streak with Memphis. Over that 12-game stretch, Wong is 24-for-57 with 17 runs scored, 13 extra-base hits and seven RBIs.

Garcia has surgery, should be ready for 2014

LOS ANGELES -- Hours after team physician George Paletta performed surgery on Jaime Garcia's left shoulder on Friday, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said the organization is optimistic that Garcia will enjoy a full recovery by the start of the 2014 season.

The procedure -- which included a debridgement of the labrum and rotator cuff -- went "very well," according to Mozeliak. The recovery time should have Garcia healthy enough to follow a normal offseason program.

Garcia opted to address the shoulder tear with surgery under the recommendation of both Paletta and Dr. James Andrews.

After rehabbing his shoulder throughout the offseason, Garcia pitched nine games for the Cardinals this year before an increasing amount of pain forced him to shut down. He went 5-2 with a 3.58 ERA.

Carpenter could face live hitters soon

LOS ANGELES -- Right-hander Chris Carpenter threw an extended bullpen session at Busch Stadium on Thursday and responded well enough that the Cardinals are considering having him face hitters as early as Tuesday. Facing hitters in live batting practice would put Carpenter a step closer toward going out on a Minor League rehab assignment.

Carpenter has been throwing off a mound for several weeks now, slowly building back arm strength and increasing his pitch count. After throwing three simulated innings last Saturday, he pushed himself through four on Thursday.

Also back in St. Louis on Thursday, reliever Fernando Salas had Dr. George Paletta examine his ailing right shoulder. Salas was given a cortisone shot to relieve inflammation. He has been prescribed a rehab program, though the Cardinals have given no indication as to how long they expect Salas to remain on the disabled list. He will be eligible to come off on June 5.

Out in Los Angeles, Jake Westbrook played catch on Friday afternoon to test his right elbow. Westbrook, who had to end a bullpen session on Wednesday due to elbow pain, said after Friday's test that his elbow "felt not bad."

Westbrook said he plans to throw on flat ground again on Saturday, after which he hopes to have a better idea of a longer-term rehab plan. At this point, the Cardinals have not deemed it necessary for Westbrook to seek another opinion on his elbow. He has already missed two starts and will miss at least two more due to the setback from earlier this week.

Worth noting

• After facing only four left-handed starters in their last 24 games, the Cardinals will see three in a row during this series in Los Angeles. The matchups could be a test for the Cardinals, who have scored only three earned runs in 28 innings against the last four lefty starters they faced. The Cardinals enter this series batting .223 against lefties, compared to a .281 mark against right-handers.

• The Cardinals will send Adam Wainwright to Kansas City in advance of his start against the Royals on Monday. St. Louis opens that series with a day game on Memorial Day, and the Cardinals' charter flight is not scheduled to land in Kansas City until late on Sunday night.

• The Cardinals opened the series in Los Angeles with the best road winning percentage (.667) and more road wins (16) than any other club in baseball. The last time the Cardinals notched 16 road wins through their first 47 games was 1987.

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.