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Garcia, Motte continue to make progress

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MILWAUKEE -- Down at the Cardinals' spring complex in Jupiter, Fla., pitchers Jason Motte and Jaime Garcia continue to make progress in their individual throwing programs.

Garcia advanced to facing hitters in a live batting practice session this week, and according to manager Mike Matheny, he is scheduled to appear in an extended spring game later this week. Garcia's progress was earlier delayed by bursitis in his surgically repaired left shoulder.

Motte is further along in his rehab work and is poised for a new test this week. After throwing almost 20 pitches in an extended spring game Monday, he will appear in another on Thursday, and then again on Saturday. That will mark the first time he will face hitters with just one day off in between outings.

"We'll see how I recover from that," Motte said Wednesday. "The last game was a step up from the previous time as far as velocity. We're getting closer each time out."

Motte said he and the Cardinals have not yet settled on a start date for a rehab assignment, which would allow Motte to faced increased competition at higher Minor League levels. The catch is that there is a 30-day limit for a pitcher's rehab assignment, so starting that countdown too early can be counterproductive.

Since gauging Motte's progress during Spring Training, the Cardinals have anticipated a May return for the right-handed reliever. That timeframe has not changed.

"It's one of those things where we're trying to get everything we can done before starting that clock," Motte said.

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.

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