ST. LOUIS -- Shortly after throwing 40 to 45 pitches in a bullpen session on Wednesday, Jake Westbrook reported that all "feels good" and that he anticipates returning to the mound for a second bullpen on Friday.
That could, Westbrook said, represent the final benchmark before the right-hander is inserted back into the Cardinals' rotation.
"It was great," said Westbrook, who hadn't been on the mound since straining his right oblique during his Sept. 8 start. "It felt better than I thought it was going to. The two days of playing catch [earlier this week] helped. I felt really good. I didn't feel anything with my side. That's encouraging."
If Westbrook comes back next week, the Cardinals will have the option of pitching him as many as two times before the end of the regular season.
Because of the fluidity of the rotation, St. Louis has not publically projected its rotation beyond Sunday, when Kyle Lohse will make his next start. Not only are the Cardinals waiting for Westbrook's status to become better defined, but the club also needs to see how Chris Carpenter's season debut goes on Friday before confirming when his second start would be.