While the rest of his St. Louis Cardinal teammates have already arrived in Mexico to prepare for tomorrow’s international series against Cincinnati, Carlos Martinez stayed behind at Busch Stadium to continue rehabbing his shoulder cuff strain.
“Yeah, I’m going to throw a light side session–30 or 35 pitches,” Martinez said before Thursday’s series finale. That session was scheduled for this morning and provided there are no setbacks, the right-hander will have a full bullpen on Sunday or Monday.
“I feel like so great,” Martinez said. “Strong, like a new guy.”
Shutdown in Spring Training because of the discomfort, Martinez has slowly been building back up for his return to the mound. More bullpen sessions and then facing live pitching will still be needed before he’s ready to return–even out of the bullpen. There also remains the chance that Carlos and the Cardinals take the additional time to allow for him to be part of the starting rotation.
“I have focus right now to be healthy and prepare my arm as a starter,” Martinez explained. “That’s a decision for the manager…maybe the bullpen, maybe starter. I don’t know but I’m going to be prepared in my mind for whatever he wants.”
After lat-oblique and shoulder issues placed him on the injured list last season, Martinez came back to make fifteen appearances out of the bullpen, earning a win and five saves in his final nine games. That decision was based on the combination of Carlos wanting to return before the season was over and the Cardinals need for back-end help. With the calendar now reading April, it provides a different opportunity.
“Now, I’ve had a good, good rehab time,” Martinez said. “Before, I got quick rehab time, I was a little bit hurt but I was trying to compete. Now I’ve just been smart and tried to be very, very healthy.”
And Martinez also has restored confidence to throw with no hesitation.
“I’m comfortable in my head and my mind and my body, everything.”
photo credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports