ST. LOUIS -- Veteran Jake Westbrook, once a cog in the Cardinals' rotation, has spent most of September trying to keep his arm strong for when he is called upon next. The question, though, is if he'll even get another chance.
Westbrook has not been in the rotation mix since returning from the disabled list on Sept. 6. He pitched 1 1/3 innings of relief that night but has not appeared in a game since. He has been throwing daily on flat ground, but has been hesitant to do much work off the mound in case he is needed later in the day for a multiple-innings appearance.
Seemingly being held back for a long-relief situation, Westbrook is watching his season close with no defined role on this club.
"It's been tough, but I'm trying to stay as sharp as I can," Westbrook said. "I warmed up pretty extensively in that Colorado game [on Sept. 19] and was throwing really well. I'm confident that if I do get a chance, I'm definitely going to be ready."
Westbrook, who is making $8.75 million this season, has a mutual option worth $9.5 million for next season. He said that he has had no discussions yet with the Cardinals about his future and doesn't expect to until the offseason. But with the amount of young pitching talent on the rise, it seems unlikely that the Cardinals would have a place for Westbrook in their 2014 rotation.
Before that, though, will come the decision about Westbrook's place -- and if he has one -- on the team's postseason roster.
"I just hope that I fit in," Westbrook said. "That's where I am right now."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. Chad Thornburg is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.