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Cardinals mull next steps for Wacha, Motte

Cardinals mull next steps for Wacha, Motte

ST. LOUIS -- A day after Michael Wacha threw 34 pitches in a Double-A rehab start, the Cardinals remained undecided on whether the right-hander's next appearance will come in the Triple-A playoffs or back with St. Louis.

Pitching in his first game since June 17, Wacha allowed one hit and one walk over two innings with Springfield on Sunday. He struck out one and faced two batters in the third (one reached on an error, the other drew a walk) before being pulled because of pitch count. He threw 24 of his pitches for strikes with catcher Tony Cruz behind the plate.

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"Very good," manager Mike Matheny said of the postgame reports on Wacha. "He had good velocity, was efficient, got quick outs and located everything well."

The Cardinals have a couple options with Wacha, who has been working his way back from a stress reaction in his right shoulder. He can make a second Minor League start on Friday for Memphis, which extended its season by advancing to the Pacific Coast League playoffs. Or the Cardinals could summon Wacha back to the Majors to have him throw a simulated game or against the Brewers later this week.

If the Cardinals went with that latter option, they would have another pitcher piggyback Wacha for multiple innings, as Wacha would not yet have his arm strength built back up to go deep into a start.

Motte covered the eighth inning of Springfield's game on Sunday and retired the side in order on 12 pitches. Matheny said Motte had a fastball velocity of 92-94 mph. With Springfield's season ending on Monday, Motte is likely headed back to St. Louis. He is already eligible to be activated from the disabled list and could be as early as Tuesday.

Motte has been sidelined since Aug. 2 due to a lower back strain.

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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