8/17/2014 2:32 A.M. ET
Wacha encouraged by first mound session
By Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com
ST. LOUIS -- Michael Wacha reached what he described as "a new milestone" in his rehab process when he took the Busch Stadium bullpen mound on Saturday afternoon and threw 30 pitches.
It had been nearly two months since Wacha had pitched off a mound, that last time being his June 17 start against the Mets. The Cardinals announced soon after that outing that Wacha had been diagnosed with a stress reaction in his right shoulder. After several weeks of rest, Wacha resumed throwing on flat ground this month and was recently cleared for this next step.
"It's one of those deals that whenever you're cleared to throw, it's a big day for you," Wacha said. "Whenever you're cleared for your first 'pen, it's a big day. But I know it's still a long road to go. I'll keep working hard and stay the course.
"It felt good to get back out there on the mound, the first time in a while. My arm felt great."
Pitching at low intensity, Wacha threw mostly fastballs, mixing in a few changeups as well. He is still scheduled to have a follow-up MRI on Monday so that doctors can ensure that Wacha's shoulder is continuing to heal. As long as everything checks out positively, he's expected to continue throwing off the mound every two-to-three days for some time.
"It's a great thing to see," manager Mike Matheny said. "It's a step forward. We're not putting too much pressure on him. I know it's just another step in the process. He has to trust it and keep moving forward."
Whether he heads out on a rehab assignment will be determined by whether he progresses quickly enough to join one of the affiliates before the Minor League regular season ends on Sept. 1. Wacha could also build up his arm strength by throwing simulated games in St. Louis.
"There's definitely been anxiousness," Wacha said. "You want to get out here and want to start throwing, but I understand that you have to take your time with these kinds of injuries. It's important not to rush back too quickly. That's how I've been dealing with it mentally and understanding long-term goals as well."
Jay plunked twice in back-to-back games
ST. LOUIS -- Jon Jay wore a bit of Cardinals' history on Saturday night after he was once again hit by a pair of Padres pitchers. The same thing had happened a day earlier, too, making Jay the franchise's only player in at least 100 years to be hit by multiple pitches in consecutive games.
The accomplishment, if it can be described as such, was last achieved in 2000 by Houston's Craig Biggio, who was hit by pitches 285 times in his career. That is second most in Major League history.
As for Jay's recent propensity to take pitches off his body?
"He's a magnet for whatever reason," manager Mike Matheny said. "There are guys who are crowding and won't budge. It seems to be down low, which is obviously where a lot of guys are trying to pitch him. When they miss, they pull it a little bit much. He doesn't mind getting on base, I know that."
Jay has been hit a Major League-most 14 times this season, equaling the number of plunkings he took last season. In 2012, Jay was hit 15 times, fifth most in the Majors.
Cards anticipate more callups this September
ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals will have an opportunity to fortify their club when rosters expand in two weeks, and manager Mike Matheny suggested on Saturday that the club's class of September callups will probably be larger than the others from his managerial tenure.
Last season, the Cardinals added eight players from the Minors in addition to the three who came off the disabled list. In 2012, the roster expanded by six.
"Most of it is about what can come here and help us because we plan on making a strong run down to the end," Matheny said. "It's going to take everything we've got."
The Cardinals will do most of their plucking from a Triple-A Redbirds team that is making a push for the Pacific Coast League postseason behind a recently hot offense. Four of those players -- Randal Grichuk, Greg Garcia, Audry Perez and Pete Kozma -- are already on the Cardinals' 40-man roster and could be easy September adds.
Xavier Scruggs and Stephen Piscotty would be other callup candidates, though the Cardinals would have to commit a 40-man roster spot to make either move.
"They've had a big offensive season," Matheny said of the Triple-A club. "We've taken some of their hottest hitters and brought them up here and tried to plug them straight in and it didn't necessarily translate. But really happy with the seasons that a lot of those guys are having."
On the pitching end, the Cardinals will stack their bullpen with fresh arms. Carlos Martinez is a lock to rejoin the team. Tyler Lyons, Marco Gonzales, Eric Fornataro and Jorge Rondon are expected to get serious consideration as well.
• After two days on the bench, Oscar Taveras returned to the starting lineup as the team's right fielder on Saturday. Taveras did deliver a pinch-hit RBI single in Friday's win after having just two hits in the 20 preceding at-bats.
• The Cardinals' bullpen accepted the Ice Bucket Challenge on Saturday afternoon and passed it along to the starting rotation, which also completed it in the Cardinals' dugout. The social media phenomenon was popularized as a way to raise money and awareness for ALS.
• Former Cardinals catcher Rob Johnson, who was in the Padres' system this year before an arm injury ended his season, traveled to St. Louis this weekend to visit some of his old teammates. Johnson also introduced several Cardinals players to a family friend who suffers from Prader-Willi Syndrome.
• Though the Cardinals rank second to last in the Majors in runs scored, the team has the third-highest total of two-out RBIs in baseball with 191. Only Oakland (207) and Miami (192) had amassed more, entering Saturday.
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.