Wacha looks sharp in latest bullpen session

Wacha looks sharp in latest bullpen session

ST. LOUIS -- Shortly after receiving positive news from the another MRI exam of his right shoulder, Michael Wacha took the Busch Stadium bullpen mound on Monday to throw for the second time since a June shutdown due to a stress reaction in his shoulder.

Manager Mike Matheny, who observed the 35-pitch session of fastballs and changeups, estimated that Wacha threw at about 75-80 percent effort. Wacha will ratchet up the intensity on Wednesday, when he takes the mound next.

"It just looked real effortless as the ball was coming out of his hand," Matheny said. "He wasn't having to pump up or do anything extraordinary. It looked good."

The Cardinals haven't publicly provided a rough timeline of Wacha's rehab program, though Matheny said the organization would like to have Wacha face competition before coming off the disabled list. There are only two weeks remaining in the Minor League season, so the time to get that work in is limited. Some of the Cardinals' affiliates, though, do have a chance at extending their seasons with a playoff berth.

Having Wacha face batters in a simulated game session would also be another option to prepare him for a return. The right-hander has been on the DL since June 18.

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.