Matheny 'feeling great' after back surgery

TAMPA, Fla. -- Cardinals manager Mike Matheny was "feeling great" Monday after undergoing back surgery at Mercy Hospital in St. Louis, general manager John Mozeliak said.

Mozeliak said Matheny's procedure, which was performed to provide relief for the pain and numbness caused by a ruptured disk, went as planned. Matheny had hoped to miss only two of the Cardinals' Spring Training games and be back in the dugout by Thursday, but Mozeliak said the club would take that decision "day by day" until they see how he's feeling upon his return.

"What's important now is that he has to take it slow over the next few weeks, probably for a month. But I do think he's getting some relief from that procedure today, so that's very encouraging," Mozeliak said in the visitors' dugout at George M. Steinbrenner Field. "I hope to see him by the end of the week back in camp, knowing that he's going to have to take it slow and be smart about it.

"I did get a text from him that said he is feeling better, spoke with our medical staff and they're encouraged by where things are at. But he's got to travel back. There's still some things that you've got to deal with -- there's bus rides, how he's going to feel when he's sitting, standing, those types of things -- but he does know that this had an impact on how he was feeling."

Bench coach Mike Aldrete is serving as Matheny's replacement in his absence, with first-base coach Chris Maloney stepping in as Aldrete's bench coach. Triple-A Memphis manager Ron "Pop" Warner is serving as the first-base coach. Matheny is expected to return to Florida on Wednesday night.

Matheny had mentioned before he left that there were more "dramatic" options than microdiscectomy, the procedure he underwent, but he said he was "pretty confident" that he wouldn't need to explore them. Mozeliak said it will probably take another week or two to determine whether that's the case.

"Most importantly is going to be how he handles his day to day," Mozeliak said. "In other words, as long as he doesn't put too much on his plate, physically, he should be OK."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. Adam Berry is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.