Martinez nearing a start, Molina to begin swinging

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, right, talks with pitcher Carlos Martinez during spring training baseball practice Sunday, Feb. 21, 2016, in Jupiter, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

JUPITER, FL. ( -- Before Sunday’s game against the Washington Nationals, Mike Matheny announced his upcoming rotation plans.

Adam Wainwright will start Monday against the Mets, followed by Michael Wacha in Fort Myers against the Twins on Tuesday. Wednesday will be the first start for new rotation member Mike Leake and he draws the Marlins. Following the schedule, Jaime Garcia would be in line for Thursday’s game in Port St. Lucie. Following the lefty, Carlos Martinez could be in line for his first appearance against Atlanta. After his first live bullpen session Friday, the 24-year-old said he expected to be on track for that game, and he will throw once more this week (either a bullpen or live batting practice) before he starts.

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Yadier Molina will begin tackling the final challenge on his road back to health in the coming days.

“You’ll see him grabbing a bat this week,” Matheny said. “This week, if everything continues to progress and he continues to take positive steps, we could potentially get him in [a game] just to catch.”

He clarified if Molina were to appear in a spring game soon, he would not go to the plate.

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The Cardinals now have two minor leaguers in a rehab program, sending right-handed pitchers Silfredo Garcia and Tyler Waldron out of major league camp. The two pitchers both had trouble in their first bullpen session and their arms didn’t respond to the exertion. In Waldron’s case, Matheny sensed a problem immediately.

“I went over and stopped him. I said ‘Tyler I’ve never seen you throw before but this doesn’t look right to me,’” he said. “He tried to convince me that was normally what it looks like, and how it feels and it just takes him awhile to get it going.”

Matheny sent him to be looked at by the trainers, who determined Waldron needed to be shut down.

“Our strength tests have so much to do with balance and range of motion, that you can’t hide. It doesn’t matter how hard you try, you can’t hide certain restrictions,” Matheny said.

If a problem is found, the trainers look at the cause, and what it could typically lead to if a player pushes through it.

Both Waldron and Garcia entered a rehab program and are expected to partake in minor league camp, which starts Tuesday.

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Mitch Harris and Tim Cooney, both dealing with soreness, are progressing in their recovery. Cooney, who was slowed down at the beginning of camp so he could build strength in his arm, has begun playing more intense catch.

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Kevin Siegrist made his first appearance Sunday, becoming the last of the big-name bullpen members to throw in a game. He had a 1-2-3 inning, with help from 2015 first-round draft pick Nick Plummer, who made diving catch at the track in right center. Siegrist has been working to develop a curveball, and the Cardinals are urging him to test it in spring.

"He’s gotta get some confidence in it," Matheny said. "He’s still getting a feel for the release point and how it’s going to work, but it should be a real good pitch for him."

The pitch has good break, and the hard-throwing lefty is working from the bottom up, containing any mistakes to the lower part of the zone.

Digital Content Producer

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