PIT@STL: Cruz cuts down McCutchen stealing second

ST. LOUIS -- Though eligible to come off the disabled list on Friday, Tony Cruz is not expected to be ready to resume playing for another week to 10 days.

That estimate was given by general manager John Mozeliak, who said that there is still no definite timetable for Cruz to resume swinging or catching. Cruz, who has been Yadier Molina's primary backup backstop this season, was placed on the DL on Aug. 15 with a left forearm microfracture.

There is the possibility, Mozeliak added, that the Cardinals will still remove Cruz from the DL before he is actually cleared to play. With rosters expanding in September, the Cardinals could activate Cruz without having to send anyone else out.

While Cruz waits for clearance to begin swinging, Jaime Garcia began his throwing program on Monday, three months after undergoing surgery on his left shoulder to repair a labrum tear.

Garcia threw for the first time post-surgery on Monday. He estimated that he threw about 30 pitches from a flat-ground distance that varied between 45-60 feet. The lefty said that his arm responded well to the exercise and that he expects to throw every other day for at least the next week.

"Obviously, I'm super-excited and everything, but at the same time, it's something that takes time," Garcia said. "You've got to basically take one day at a time and see how it's going. ... I'm in a good place right now, and I'll just keep working hard and keep a good mentality and see what happens. There will be bumps in the road, but it was a good first day of playing catch, and we'll take it one day at a time."

The Cardinals have a program blueprint for Garcia to follow as he rebuilds arm strength, though the timing of each successive step will be determined primarily by how Garcia's arm responds. The Cardinals expect Garcia to be healthy enough to handle a full offseason throwing program. That would allow Garcia to report to Spring Training without any limitation.

"Obviously, any time you're coming off surgery and you're progressing like he is, to get that first initial step of that throwing program, I think, is great news," Mozeliak said. "And more importantly, just how he has been responding is real encouraging. The medical staff really believes that he'll be somebody who is ready to have a normal offseason, and we're looking forward to seeing him next spring."

Cards expecting significant number of callups

TEX@STL: Blazek notches first big league strikeout

ST. LOUIS -- With 29 games scheduled over the final 31 days of the regular season, the Cardinals are likely to have a bigger class of September callups than usual, general manager John Mozeliak said on Monday.

Mozeliak estimated that the team will add between five and 10 Minor Leaguers once rosters expand on Sept. 1. A few of those players will arrive on that first day of the month (which is next Sunday), with the rest following at the end of the Triple-A season. Of those additions, Mozeliak said that four to six will likely be pitchers.

"I would think most people you're familiar with," Mozeliak said, indicating that those set to be summoned have already been in St. Louis this season. "I don't anticipate any surprises right now, but as you can imagine, anything can happen with a week."

To be eligible for a callup, a player must be on the 40-man roster. Currently, there are seven healthy pitchers already on that roster, but not with the big league club. That list includes Michael Blazek -- ranked by MLB.com as the Cards' No. 5 prospect -- Keith Butler, Eric Fornataro (No. 14), Sam Freeman, Victor Marte, Jorge Rondon and Fernando Salas. All but Fornataro and Rondon have been in the Majors this season.

On the position player side there are four healthy players already on the roster -- Jermaine Curtis, Ryan Jackson, Brock Peterson and Adron Chambers. Peterson will be able to provide the potential for pop off the bench, while Chambers can bring an element of speed. And of Jackson's chances at an invitation, Mozeliak noted that the organization "would like to give him an opportunity" despite no foreseeable playing time in the infield."

The Cardinals currently have one open spot on the 40-man roster and can easily make a second by moving John Gast to the 60-day disabled list. Asked if he envisioned any additions to the 40-man roster, Mozeliak said: "It's always possible, but as I sit here right now, I don't see that happening."

The scenario in which it would happen would be if the Cardinals wanted to add some insurance at the catchers' spot. Tony Cruz will be eligible to come off the DL on Friday, but the Cardinals do not expect him to be ready to play by the beginning of September. Neither of the two catchers splitting time in Triple-A -- Audry Perez and Travis Tartamella -- are on the Cardinals' 40-man roster.

Minor matters

Some highlights from around the Cardinals' Minor League system:

• The Cardinals' new short-season affiliate in State College has reeled off 10 straight wins, a franchise record for the Spikes. State College has won 17 of its last 18 home games and, with a 41-23 record, sits in first place in the New York-Penn League's Pinckney Division. The Spikes enjoyed a nine-game winning streak from July 29-Aug. 7.

• First baseman David Washington (New York-Penn League) earned Player of the Week honors for his performance over the past week. Washington, who has already set State College (Pa.) franchise marks for home runs (10) and RBIs (47) in a season, drove in 10 last week. Seven of his 10 hits went for extra bases.

• Triple-A Memphis first baseman Peterson has been selected as the designated hitter on the All-Pacific League Coast League Team. Peterson leads the league with 24 home runs, 82 RBIs, a .539 slugging percentage and .910 OPS. Peterson, who is batting .300, was previously selected as a PCL midseason All-Star.

• Each of the Cardinals' two top affiliates are trying to make up ground to earn postseason berths in their respective leagues. Memphis (65-71) entered Monday trailing Omaha by two games in the American Northern division of the PCL. Memphis has eight games remaining in its schedule. Double-A Springfield is one game behind Arkansas in the North division of the Texas League with its 31-31 second-half record. Springfield also has eight games left to play.

Worth noting

Matt Adams was back in the Cardinals' starting lineup for the first time since Tuesday, as manager Mike Matheny opted to rest right fielder Carlos Beltran in Monday's series opener against the Reds. Matchups may have been a factor in the decision as well, as Beltran has just two hits in 18 career at-bats against Cincinnati starter Mike Leake. Adams has that many in three at-bats.

• The Arizona Fall League is scheduled to unveil its 2013 rosters on Tuesday. The Cardinals will have a minimum of seven AFL participants, though some names might not be finalized until closer to the league's start date.

• Cardinals Care is scheduled to distribute more than $100,000 to 66 non-profit groups in the St. Louis area during the organization's summer grant ceremony on Tuesday. All of the groups to receive grants are involved in programs for children.