NEW YORK -- Though the Cardinals still have a Plan B in waiting, manager Mike Matheny said on Sunday that "everything is pointing to" Jaime Garcia being able to make his next scheduled start.
That start would come on Tuesday, when the Cardinals open a three-game series against the Astros.
Garcia was skipped this last time through the rotation after notifying the training staff of some unusual left-elbow discomfort. Garcia was sent back to St. Louis last Tuesday for a follow-up MRI exam, which came back showing no structural damage.
Though Garcia has not thrown his usual between-starts bullpen session, he did throw on flat ground with assistant athletic trainer Adam Olsen this weekend. The reports afterward were encouraging.
"He said he feels really good," Matheny said. "Nothing is in stone, but he's anticipating that he's making his Tuesday start."
Garcia is expected to join the team in Houston on Monday night.
The Cardinals have not divulged what their backup plan would be should Garcia end up not ready to go. Right-hander Joe Kelly, who is scheduled to start for Triple-A Memphis on Monday, would be an option if the Cardinals stop him from making that start. Memphis' scheduled starter for Tuesday is top pitching prospect Shelby Miller.
Cards not ready to start limiting Lynn's usage
NEW YORK -- With his 4 2/3-inning start on Saturday, Lance Lynn's season innings total sits at 68 1/3. That's certainly not an unusual mark for a pitcher 11 starts into his season. But it is already more than half the innings Lynn logged in an injury-plagued 2011.
Lynn threw a combined 109 2/3 innings between Triple-A and the Majors last year. This season, he is on pace to throw 205.
Making such a jump in a one-year span is typically avoided, as it has been proven to lead to an increased risk in arm issues. The Cardinals, while monitoring Lynn's workload, have not yet put together a firm long-term plan on how to eventually limit it.
"I think right now we're in the mode that we have to maximize the here-and-now," manager Mike Matheny said. "He's doing a nice job, so we're going to continue to let him go. Is it out of the question to look at that and look way down the road? We've talked about it, but just haven't made any adjustments so far."
One of the potential answers could be Chris Carpenter. Should Carpenter return to the team after the All-Star break, as currently projected, he could slide back into the rotation. Assuming the rest of the starters remain healthy, that would give the Cardinals the option of putting Lynn back in the bullpen.
The Cardinals' recent pursuit of free-agent pitcher Roy Oswalt, who signed with the Rangers, was also made while considering Lynn's season path.
"[Signing Oswalt] was something that [general manager John Mozeliak] was seriously trying to make happen," Matheny said. "There have been a lot of moving parts to what potentially could happen. We're just real excited about what Lance is doing and will help to continue moving him forward, but not being blind to the fact that it's going to be considerably different to what he's done in the past."
Kidney stone may have impacted Salas
NEW YORK -- Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said on Sunday that Fernando Salas recently passed a kidney stone, which had been bothering the right-handed reliever since Spring Training.
It was not previously public knowledge that Salas, who was optioned to Triple-A on May 26, was dealing with such a medical issue. When Salas was sidelined with an illness during Spring Training and earlier this season, specifics of the illness were not disclosed.
This news certainly begs the question of whether there is correlation between Salas' kidney stone issue and his early troubles. He never found much of a rhythm during Spring Training, and the inconsistencies continued into the regular season. By the time Salas was sent down, his ERA had ballooned to 6.32 in 18 appearances.
The results were quite disappointing from a player who had entered spring as a favorite to serve as the club's eighth-inning setup man. Last season, Salas led the Cardinals with 24 saves. He logged a career-high 75 innings in 68 appearances and finished with a 2.28 ERA.
Salas has made four outings since his demotion and has given up four earned runs and six hits in four innings. Three of those runs and four hits came in a one-inning appearance on Sunday. Salas has struck out five and walked none.
Robinson sits with migraine; Chambers in center
NEW YORK -- Scheduled to make a second consecutive start in center field on Sunday night, Shane Robinson was scratched from manager Mike Matheny's original lineup because of a migraine.
Robinson dealt with the intense headache in a quiet, dark room inside Citi Field. Matheny, speaking about three hours before the scheduled first pitch, projected that Robinson would be able to recover quickly enough to be available for the game.
Robinson collected two of the team's seven hits on Saturday.
Taking Robinson's place in center and in the eighth spot in the batting order was Adron Chambers, who had started just one other time since his May 18 promotion from Triple-A. Chambers entered the night 2-for-10 on the season.
The Mets have shuffled their rotation and will now start right-hander Dillon Gee against the Cardinals on Monday. Right-hander Jeremy Hefner was initially scheduled to get the nod.
Pitching coach Derek Lilliquist has rejoined the team after spending a few days with his family, which was celebrating the high-school graduation of Lilliquist's son, Derek.
Third-base coach Jose Oquendo said he has not been asked about returning as the manager for the Puerto Rico club participating in next year's World Baseball Classic. Oquendo, who managed the team in both 2006 and 2009, said he is under the impression that the team has already chosen its coaching staff. Carlos Delgado announced via Twitter on Saturday that he would be serving as Puerto Rico's hitting coach.
The Astros have lined up their rotation for their upcoming series against the Cardinals. Starting on Tuesday will be right-hander Lucas Harrell. He'll be followed, in order, by righty Bud Norris and left-hander J.A. Happ.
The Mets held a pregame ceremony on Sunday night to honor former reliever John Franco, the 26th inductee into the team's Hall of Fame. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny went 0-for-2 with a strikeout against Franco during his career. However, it was the ball he put into play against Franco that he remembers best.
"He came in to close out a game, and he made a mistake and I killed it," Matheny said. "To the point where, I never really saw pitchers' reactions, but he gave this reaction like, 'I can't believe I just gave up a home run to this schmuck.' That's what it looked like to me. I saw his reaction, and it felt so good, and the left fielder ended up catching it about five steps away from the warning track. That was my best ball off John Franco, and it didn't even get to the track."
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.