Cardinals head physician Dr. George Paletta recently approved the addition of the over-the-head strengthening exercises to McClellan's rehab program. In about two weeks, McClellan said he expects to be cleared for a pre-throwing routine, which would involve throwing at a short distance into a trampoline.
"It's gone as good as it can go," McClellan said. "Strength-wise, I feel strong, I feel good. Pain-wise, there's just a very small area where I feel it a little bit. Now we're doing strengthening in this area so that should eliminate it."
Assuming there are no setbacks, McClellan will throw for the entire month of November, take a month off and then begin his offseason throwing program early in January. That's earlier than McClellan would normally begin throwing during the winter, but he wants to prove to the Cardinals -- and to other clubs -- that he will be uninhibited come the start of Spring Training.
That's especially important given that McClellan's immediate future could be in limbo this winter. As an arbitration-eligible player, McClellan will have to wait to see if the Cardinals decide to tender him a contract for 2013. The prospect of that seems unlikely after McClellan made only 16 appearances this season while earning $2.5 million.
If the Cardinals do not tender McClellan a contract, the organization could still try to negotiate a deal to have the right-hander return. McClellan, who is from St. Louis, would also be free to test his value on the open market.
"That will all come this offseason," McClellan said of his future. "We'll cross that bridge when we get there. There's definitely a possibility of it and there's a possibility of coming back. I haven't spoken to anybody about it and they haven't spoken to me.
"I've always said this is the best situation for me. This is an organization I've been with for 11 years. This is all I know. But at the same time, if I'm healthy, I know I can go out and pitch and compete anywhere. Wherever it is -- hopefully it's here -- I'm going to come out all right."