7/22/2014 9:51 P.M. ET
Wacha targets September return after MRI
By Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com
ST. LOUIS -- With approval from the medical staff after they read the results of Monday's MRI exam, Michael Wacha plans to increase his strength exercises over the next two weeks with the hope that he'll then be cleared to begin a throwing program.
If all goes as the Cardinals hope, Wacha will resume throwing during the first full week of August, which would then put him on schedule to return to the Cards' rotation in early September. Wacha, who last pitched on June 17, has been nursing a stress reaction in his right shoulder.
"There were times where there was talk I might not even be able to come back," Wacha said on Tuesday. "I'm just trying to keep a positive mind about it. The whole plan is to get healthy and help this team make the playoffs. That's the goal right now, and I'm working as hard as I can to get healthy and make an impact whenever I get back."
The rehab program would first include a buildup of arm strength, after which Wacha could condition his arm by making a few Minor League starts. The Cardinals have scheduled an MRI for Aug. 4, at which time they will want to see further evidence of healing before giving Wacha the green light to throw.
Wacha said he didn't even need confirmation from an MRI to know that his shoulder was improving.
"I don't feel [tightness] now," Wacha said. "There were times that I could feel it just around the house doing casual things. But that's all gone for sure."
Siegrist back from rehab, on verge of activation
ST. LOUIS -- While the Cardinals won't make the final decision until Wednesday, general manager John Mozeliak said it's "a real possibility" that left-hander Kevin Siegrist will be activated from the 15-day disabled list prior to the Cardinals' series finale against the Rays.
Siegrist rejoined the Major League team on Tuesday, one day after he threw 27 pitches in a 1 1/3-inning rehab appearance for Double-A Springfield. That was Siegrist's fifth rehab outing and accomplished the final thing (pitching an inning-plus) that the Cardinals have on his rehab checklist. He previously threw in back-to-back games.
During his time with Springfield, Siegrist scattered four hits and three walks in 4 2/3 scoreless innings. He struck out three. He saw improved command of his pitches each time out.
"At first, it was just trying to find the zone," Siegrist said. "Once I found the zone, every time I went out, it was easier to perform."
Siegrist was sidelined by a left forearm injury on May 24, and was later set back by a nerve issue that created shoulder discomfort.
"This was a shocker to me," Siegrist said of the length of recovery. "Everything just kept spiraling a little bit. But I got everything under control, and it feels good. I couldn't wait to get back. It was probably the most frustrating thing I could go through. You just want to get back and help the team out any way you can."
The Cardinals did not consider activating him on Tuesday because they wanted him to get a full day of rest after Monday's extended outing.
Carpenter Cards' Heart and Hustle recipient
ST. LOUIS -- For the second straight season, Matt Carpenter has been named the Cardinals' winner of the Heart and Hustle Award, presented annually by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association to honor players "who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and tradition of the game."
The Heart and Hustle Award recipient from each of the 30 teams is now eligible to be named the overall winner, with that announcement set for Nov. 18. The 30 team winners were chosen by MLBPAA committees of alumni players with a connection to each team.
Carpenter will be honored as the Cardinals' Heart and Hustle Award winner in a ceremony prior to a home game later this season.
• The Cardinals plan to start Joe Kelly in Friday's series opener against the Cubs, but the organization is still evaluating its options for the two weekend games. Carlos Martinez could come back on five days' rest to start Saturday, or the Cardinals could plug Shelby Miller back into the rotation. Adam Wainwright would be ready to return Sunday on regular rest.
• Outfielder Jonathan Rivera and right-hander Derian Gonzalez represented the Cardinals in the Dominican Summer League All-Star Game on Sunday. Rivera, signed out of Panama in 2013, flied out in his only at-bat. Gonzalez, a 2012 signee from Venezuela, issued a walk and hit a batter in his appearance.
• Left-hander Tim Cooney struck out four and allowed an unearned run in his six-inning start for Triple-A Memphis on Monday. In three July starts, Cooney has allowed three earned runs in 22 innings. Memphis lost Sunday's game, 4-1.
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.