CINCINNATI -- Shortly after wrapping up an efficient and effective rehab start with Class A Peoria on Sunday, Jake Westbrook said he expects to be back pitching in the Cardinals' rotation by the end of the week.
The seven-inning rehab appearance was Westbrook's second since taking time off in his recovery to let right elbow inflammation recede. He had pitched 3 2/3 innings in a Double-A outing on Tuesday.
"Sinker was great today," Westbrook said, speaking on the phone as he drove back to St. Louis. "I was able to locate it a lot better than I was the last start, which was encouraging. My other offspeed pitches were a lot better than they were last start as well. I felt strong in the sixth and seventh innings, which is where I want to be. And I felt like I could have kept going."
Westbrook retired the first 14 batters he faced on Sunday before a single and double drove home the Quad Cities' only run off the veteran right-hander. Fourteen of the 21 outs Westbrook recorded came on the ground. He struck out five, issued no walks and allowed four hits.
Because of all the quick outs he was getting early with his fastball, Westbrook took the opportunity to focus on executing offspeed pitches as the game progressed.
"What's very encouraging to me is that I can go out there and do what I've done with the workload I've had the last couple of starts and still feel strong at the end," Westbrook said. "That's a good sign."
Westbrook plans to meet the Cardinals in New York on Tuesday and will throw his next bullpen session at Citi Field under the watchful eyes of the coaching staff. The organization has not said what day Westbrook will come off the disabled list, nor have the Cardinals hinted at whose rotation spot Westbrook will take.
If he stays on a five-day rotation, Westbrook would be scheduled to pitch next on Friday in Miami. That is currently Tyler Lyons' night to pitch. Lyons would seemingly be the likely candidate to get bumped out of the rotation upon Westbrook's return.
Westbrook had a 2-1 record and 1.62 ERA in six starts before going on the disabled list May 9.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.