ST. LOUIS -- Jaime Garcia moved his throwing program to the mound this week and is scheduled to throw a third bullpen session at Busch Stadium on Saturday.
Garcia threw 40 pitches -- all fastballs -- in side sessions on Monday and Wednesday. After he throws on Saturday, the Cardinals will reevaluate when and where the next step in his rehab program will take place. Garcia, who has been sidelined with a left shoulder impingement since June 6, would seem to be in line to begin throwing to batters next week.
"The shoulder, I can definitely feel a difference," Garcia said on Friday. "That's good. I'm excited. I'm confident that this is going to work. There's no discomfort, and it feels [looser] in there. It's kind of early for me to say too much about it, but so far what I've done feels good and I feel better."
Garcia is again expected to throw 40 pitches in Saturday's side session, though he will begin mixing in breaking pitches with his fastball.
The Cardinals anticipate that Garcia will be ready to return to the roster in mid-August. The left-hander will need several Minor League rehab appearances in order to get himself ready to start again. All indications are that the Cardinals are going to use Garcia as a starter, not a reliever, upon his return.