Pineiro, Clement making progress

Pineiro, Clement making progress

JUPITER, Fla. -- Joel Pineiro and Matt Clement are both coming along well as they attempt to return to the Cardinals' starting rotation mix.

Pineiro, who missed his scheduled turn on Wednesday due to inflammation in the lat muscle beneath his right shoulder, could begin a throwing program on Friday. He probably will not be able to make his next start, which would have been Monday, but he hopes to return to game action for his following turn.

"We'll just check him tomorrow," head athletic trainer Barry Weinberg said Thursday. "He made good improvement today. He felt better each day. We'll take a look at him tomorrow and make a judgment then. He's on a good path."

Pineiro remains optimistic that he will be able to pitch at the start of the regular season, but the club is evaluating contingency plans in case he is not. Anthony Reyes took Pineiro's past scheduled start, after Reyes had been scratched three days earlier due to illness.

Clement's program is slower, but still coming along. He threw his third live batting-practice session on Thursday, and this time he faced hitters without a screen in front of him. A date has yet to be determined for the right-hander to make his game debut, but he is getting closer.

"Clement had a really good workout today," pitching coach Dave Duncan said Thursday. "I thought he turned the corner. His velocity was better. Movement on all of his pitches was good. He threw more strikes than in any of his outings. He was excited about it. I was excited about it. He's making a move forward."

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.