Barton itching to return to lineup

Barton itching to return

ST. LOUIS -- Brian Barton has begun ramping up his workouts, and the rookie Cardinals outfielder hopes that he can be activated from the disabled list on Tuesday, the first day he is eligible to return to active duty. Barton has been sidelined for two weeks with a strained right oblique muscle.

On Sunday, Barton hopes to take his first batting-practice swings on the field since he sustained the injury. He swung in the batting cage but not on the field on Saturday.

"I'm just trying to take it day by day," Barton said. "We'll see what happens. I'm trying to do nothing stupid, but at the same time pick up the intensity a little bit to get closer to game readiness."

Barton said on Saturday that he hasn't had any problems with the injury as he has increased his activity level. He would provide a welcome boost for the Cardinals if he's able to return soon, because the club is currently down two right-handed-hitting outfielders: Barton and Joe Mather.

Still, the Cardinals will likely proceed slowly with Barton, especially given the potential for oblique injuries to linger.

"I asked [about his condition] yesterday," manager Tony La Russa said on Saturday afternoon. "I think he's still feeling something, so I'm not sure."

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