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Mulder eyes mid-May return

Mulder eyes mid-May return

ST. LOUIS -- Mark Mulder threw a bullpen session at Busch Stadium on Friday and said he remains optimistic that he will be ready to be activated from the disabled list when his rehabilitation stint ends in two weeks.

Mulder has not pitched in a Major League game since last September. He underwent a second shoulder surgery last fall, and is in the course of rehabilitation from that operation. The left-hander had a rocky start at Triple-A Memphis on Wednesday, allowing nine runs (seven earned) in 3 2/3 innings.

"This is my Spring Training," Mulder said Friday. "If this was the middle of the spring and I had this outing, I wouldn't be freaking out. So I'm not.

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"I came out of it feeling real good. I threw my side today and it went fine. I was missing with my curveball and my changeup, so it was fastball-cutter. I was throwing good pitches, but when you're behind in the count all day, it makes it kind of difficult."

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said on Wednesday that it's not automatic that Mulder will be added to the Cardinals' Major League rotation when his 30-day rehab period ends in mid-May. However, Mulder does not expect to return to the disabled list or extended Spring Training when the 30 days are up.

"I would hope not," he said. "I would definitely hope not. I don't foresee that it would be a problem. But we've got to wait and see how things go, see how I feel."

Mulder will pitch again for Memphis on Monday. After that, he would have one more rehabilitation start before the 30-day period comes to an end. He began his rehab on April 15.

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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