Ellis improving, nearing return to lineup

Ellis improving, nearing return to lineup

JUPITER, Fla. -- Mark Ellis, sidelined since last Thursday with left knee tendinitis, is aiming for a weekend return to Grapefruit League play, manager Mike Matheny said on Wednesday.

Ellis described himself as "definitely on the up and up" and has been encouraged by the improvement felt over the last few days. A recent MRI showed no structural concerns.

"You never want to miss time, but it seems to be under control," Ellis said. "It was a little sore."

"I think he said a couple times that he'd be out there if we were in the season, but this is something to get ahead of and that he would follow along with what the trainers are trying to do," Matheny added. "They have done enough tests to know that he is in good shape structurally. It's just something that's achy right now."

Ellis has played in eight of the Cardinals' 17 spring games and would have only a week's worth of available games before the regular season if he returns this weekend. Ellis, 36, has six hits in 20 at-bats, the fewest at-bats among any position player expected to be on the Cards' Opening Day roster.

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.