ST. LOUIS -- Sitting two-to-three weeks ahead of his prescribed rehab schedule, Kyle McClellan is on target to resume throwing at the beginning of November. McClellan's season officially ended in July -- when he underwent shoulder surgery to repair a frayed labrum and a split shoulder capsule -- though he hasn't pitched since May.
Cardinals head physician Dr. George Paletta recently approved the addition of the over-the-head strengthening exercises to McClellan's rehab program. In about two weeks, McClellan said he expects to be cleared for a pre-throwing routine, which would involve throwing at a short distance into a trampoline.
"It's gone as good as it can go," McClellan said. "Strength-wise, I feel strong, I feel good. Pain-wise, there's just a very small area where I feel it a little bit. Now we're doing strengthening in this area so that should eliminate it."
Assuming there are no setbacks, McClellan will throw for the entire month of November, take a month off and then begin his offseason throwing program early in January. That's earlier than McClellan would normally begin throwing during the winter, but he wants to prove to the Cardinals -- and to other clubs -- that he will be uninhibited come the start of Spring Training.
That's especially important given that McClellan's immediate future could be in limbo this winter. As an arbitration-eligible player, McClellan will have to wait to see if the Cardinals decide to tender him a contract for 2013. The prospect of that seems unlikely after McClellan made only 16 appearances this season while earning $2.5 million.
If the Cardinals do not tender McClellan a contract, the organization could still try to negotiate a deal to have the right-hander return. McClellan, who is from St. Louis, would also be free to test his value on the open market.
"That will all come this offseason," McClellan said of his future. "We'll cross that bridge when we get there. There's definitely a possibility of it and there's a possibility of coming back. I haven't spoken to anybody about it and they haven't spoken to me.
"I've always said this is the best situation for me. This is an organization I've been with for 11 years. This is all I know. But at the same time, if I'm healthy, I know I can go out and pitch and compete anywhere. Wherever it is -- hopefully it's here -- I'm going to come out all right."
Matheny mum on rotation plan should Cards clinch
ST. LOUIS -- Insistent that he keep his public comments relevant only to the present, manager Mike Matheny has still not publicly divulged the club's pitching plans should the Cardinals clinch a playoff spot before the final day of the regular season.
Chris Carpenter remains scheduled to pitch on Tuesday and likely will regardless whether the Cardinals clinch on Monday night or not. By pitching Tuesday, the only playoff game that Carpenter would be unable to start would be Friday's Wild Card Game. He would be fresh by Game 1 of the National League Division Series.
Wednesday's situation is not so clear. If the Cardinals still have not wrapped up the second NL Wild Card, Adam Wainwright will make the start. The Cardinals have not divulged how they'll handle that start if the game is not a must-win one.
"You guys all know we obviously are forward-thinking enough in different scenarios to give us the best chance," Matheny said. "But right now, the way we see it, we have to win two games."
Cardinals first baseman Lance Berkman will be honored on Tuesday when a baseball field at the Sesser Sports Complex in Sesser, Ill., is renamed Lance Berkman Field during a dedication ceremony. Lance Berkman Field will be the 19th young ball field sponsored by Cardinals Care and will serve as the home field for nine teams associated with the Sesser Redbird Rookies program.
When Chris Carpenter takes the mound on Tuesday, he'll be one strikeout away from tying Bob Forsch for third on the all-time franchise list. Carpenter currently has 1,079 strikeouts as a Cardinal.
On Monday, Major League Baseball revealed the players ranking in the top 20 of jersey sales since the All-Star break. David Freese (No. 12) and Yadier Molina (No. 18) both cracked the list.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.