Mozeliak says Lopez near return to Cards

Mozeliak says Lopez near return to Cards

CINCINNATI -- Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said on Saturday that he anticipates infielder Felipe Lopez could be activated as soon as Monday. Earlier this week, manager Tony La Russa had sounded a cautious tone regarding Lopez, but Mozeliak said that things have gone well and Lopez's return to active duty could be very soon.

That might mean bad news for former Cardinals infielder Aaron Miles, who is currently playing at Double-A Springfield. The club signed Miles to a Minor League contract in part as insurance in case Lopez's right elbow strain kept him out for an extended period of time. If Lopez is back soon and fully healthy, it's hard to see a place on the roster for Miles.

Mozeliak said that Miles has an out in his contract that would allow him to elect free agency if he is not on the Major League roster within 30 days after he signed, which was April 27. It's likely that Miles will remain at Double-A for the time being instead of going to Triple-A Memphis.

"I have not set a timetable [regarding Miles]," Mozeliak said. "I think the natural progression is that now that he's playing with a full-season club at a higher level [after starting at extended spring camp] , I think really his performance will dictate the next move. ... The reason I didn't put him at Memphis was I really wanted [Daniel] Descalso to be able to play."

Lopez has been on the disabled list since the same day that Miles signed. He has been throwing in recent days and reported on Saturday that he has had no setbacks.

"We want to be smart, but there's a chance it could happen as early as Monday," Mozeliak said.