ST. LOUIS -- Three days after receiving a cortisone injection to target a buildup of scar tissue around his right elbow, Jake Westbrook was cleared to begin his throwing program.
Westbrook made about 25 throws from a distance of 60 feet on Sunday, saying afterward that "it went well" and that his elbow "feels a lot better." Westbrook, who will travel to California with the club after Sunday's game, expects to play catch again on Monday.
The Cardinals are still hopeful that Westbrook, who was placed on the disabled list retroactive to May 9, will miss only three starts. John Gast started in his place on Tuesday and was closed out the series against the Brewers on Sunday. If the Cardinals don't use the upcoming off day to tweak the rotation, his spot would come up again next Saturday.
Westbrook has been addressing a series of issues since he stopped throwing after his May 8 start. He was initially diagnosed with elbow inflammation, but he has since mentioned that biceps tendinitis and the hardening of scar tissue have also been part of the culprit.
Cards tab rookie Lyons to start Wednesday
ST. LOUIS -- Manager Mike Matheny announced on Sunday that the Cardinals will have left-hander Tyler Lyons start against the Padres on Wednesday in place of Jaime Garcia, who has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left shoulder injury.
Lyons will join the team in San Diego in advance of the start but will not be added to the 40- and 25-man rosters until Wednesday. That will allow the Cardinals to utilize an eight-man bullpen before sending a reliever down to Triple-A.
The Cardinals' decision to tab Lyons as Garcia's replacement was based upon a variety of factors. The timing was ideal given that Lyons' next scheduled start for Memphis was to be on Wednesday. Also, the Cardinals did not feel that any of the pitchers in their bullpen with extensive starting experience -- Carlos Martinez, Seth Maness and Joe Kelly -- would have the arm strength necessary to pitch deep into a game this soon.
"Not having them built up definitely takes away from them being viable options," Matheny said. "Being able to get them back to that point whether through extended innings here or anything else we need to do is still an option for us. But as far as getting somebody there in the next four days is pretty tough."
When the Cardinals choose who to unplug from the bullpen to open a roster spot for Lyons, they'll likely consider sending someone down who can begin building back up as a starter. That will give the club more flexibility in finding help as the season progresses.
Lyons, who was a participant in big league camp this spring, has a 4.47 ERA in eight Triple-A starts this season. He has struck out 38 and walked nine in 46 1/3 innings.
The Cardinals considered pitching prospect Michael Wacha as a possibility for the spot start, too, before settling on Lyons. The club made its decision focused on finding a short-term fill-in rather than long-term help. With Jake Westbrook moving closer to returning to the rotation, the Cardinals may only need a placeholder in the rotation for one or two starts. Chris Carpenter could also be in the picture within a few weeks.
Lyons will become the third rookie starter, joining Shelby Miller and John Gast, in the Cardinals' rotation when he arrives.
Boggs eager for fresh start after rejoining Cards
ST. LOUIS -- Mitchell Boggs is tired of talking mechanics. He won't divulge the specifics on what he accomplished or tweaked during his Triple-A stint in Memphis, but he'll be happy to show it.
With starter Jaime Garcia on the 15-day disabled list with a left shoulder strain, Boggs returned to the club Sunday after 16 days with the Memphis Redbirds eager for his fresh start.
"I can sit here and talk about [mechanics] all day long, but it's not gonna matter when I go out there and compete," Boggs said. "Whatever adjustments I've made, I feel good about them and I look forward to showing that."
Through his first five appearances in Memphis, Boggs pitched five scoreless innings, allowing three hits, walking two and striking out four. But in his last outing on Thursday, he walked three and allowed two hits for three earned runs while recording just one out.
"It was just one of those days," Boggs said. "I had five really good ones before that. I know folks probably don't want to talk about those five as much as they want to talk about one bad outing, but that's fine. Folks can look at it however they want to. I know what I went down there and did, I know how hard I worked."
The 29-year-old right-hander excelled as a setup man last season but struggled after inheriting the closer role in March from the injured Jason Motte. In 10 2/3 innings this season, Boggs tallied a 12.66 ERA on 17 hits and 12 walks.
"He knew what he was not doing and what we was capable of doing, and so it was just a matter of figuring out how to make it happen," manager Mike Matheny said. "We were watching him close. That was the game plan all along -- get him fixed and get him back here."
Matheny didn't offer much clarity to Boggs' role in the bullpen going forward, but it's likely that he sees time in low-pressure situations to prove himself.
"I think we've shown this team has all the ingredients it needs to be really special, and I just want to be one of those ingredients," Boggs said.
Busch Stadium to transform into soccer field
ST. LOUIS -- Following Sunday's game, the Cardinals' grounds crew will begin the process of converting a baseball diamond into a soccer field for Thursday's international exhibition game between Manchester City and Chelsea.
The conversion, head groundskeeper Bill Findley said, will begin almost immediately. The mound will have to be removed, as will a layer of all the dirt in the infield and around home plate. A plastic covering will be placed on the remaining dirt to protect it from moisture, before sod is laid on top. A company from Molina, Ill., will be assisting the Cardinals' grounds crew team with the work.
Findley estimated that it will take two-to-three days after Thursday's game -- the first soccer game ever played at Busch Stadium III -- to return the field to normal conditions.
The biggest variable in this entire process is the weather. Rain is in the forecast for each of the next three days, which could affect the amount of time the grounds crew has to work. A soggy field would also likely increase the number of divots left behind by the players.
• David Freese needed stitches to close a gash in his right hand that he sustained on Sunday while lunging to tag Norichika Aoki as Aoki tried to score from third in the first inning. Freese continued to play despite the cut and finished 2-for-3 at the plate.
• In order to fit in with Sunday's promotion at the ballpark, all eight of the Cardinals' starting position players wore their socks high during the game. The "High Socks Sunday" tradition was something that began last season but never got full participation. According to Freese, it was Allen Craig who devised the plan to get everyone involved in the fashion statement on Sunday. Kids 15 years and younger received a pair of high socks upon entering Busch Stadium on Sunday.
• Chris Carpenter said that his arm responded well enough to throwing three simulated innings on Saturday that he'll continue to move forward with his throwing program as scheduled. That means he will throw a short side session on Monday before throwing four simulated innings on Thursday.
• The Cardinals are scheduled to face Jason Marquis (5-2, 3.49 ERA), Edinson Volquez (3-4, 5.55 ERA) and Burch Smith (0-0, 15.63 ERA) during their upcoming series against the Padres. San Diego will be the first stop on a three-city road trip that will also take them to Los Angeles and Kansas City.
• Because their 40-man roster is currently full, the Cardinals will have to open up a spot in order to add Tyler Lyons on Wednesday. If, by then, the club learns that Garcia will be out for an extensive period of time, moving him to the 60-day disabled list would clear the necessary room.
• Left-hander Tim Cooney tossed six scoreless innings in Double-A Springfield's shutout win on Saturday. Cooney (2-0, 2.45 ERA) allowed five hits and struck out seven.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. Chad Thornburg is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.