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Pineiro says he's ready to return

Pineiro says he's ready to return

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HOUSTON -- Joel Pineiro says he's ready to go. The Cardinals say they'll wait another day or two before they decide.

Pineiro arrived in Houston on Wednesday, a day after pitching well for Triple-A Memphis in New Orleans. He was excited about not only his results, but how he felt throwing the ball and how he improved as the game went on. If he has his way, Pineiro will start on Sunday for the Cardinals in San Francisco.

Pineiro missed more than two weeks of Spring Training as a result of irritation below his right shoulder, in a lat muscle.

"I think I'm good to go," he said. "My arm feels good. My body's in shape. I think I'm at the point where they wanted to [me to] be for my first start of the year. This is what I'm looking for now. I just got backed up those two weeks, but to me, I did everything that I needed to do, and I feel good. I feel how I want to feel to go out there and produce in the first start in a big league game."

The Cardinals' game notes on Wednesday listed Brad Thompson as the team's starter on Sunday, but manager Tony La Russa said not to read anything into that.

"The decision hasn't been made," La Russa said.

It should be made Thursday, though. That's the day when Sunday's starter would throw a bullpen session.

"One of the factors is [Pineiro's] readiness," La Russa said. "That's one of the factors. But it's not the only one. You factor several things together."

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

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