ST. LOUIS -- As long as nothing goes awry during his scheduled bullpen session at Busch Stadium on Thursday, Jaime Garcia is expected to come off the disabled list and start against the Braves on Sunday afternoon.
Garcia returned to St. Louis on Wednesday and planned to throw off the mound later in the day in preparation for a Saturday start. A rainout foiled those plans, though manager Mike Matheny said after the postponement was announced that the Cardinals will still start Garcia over the weekend.
The club could have skipped the fifth spot in the rotation and had Garcia pitch once more with Triple-A Memphis. Instead, the Cardinals will take the opportunity to get each of their rotation members an extra day of rest.
It has been nearly a year since Garcia underwent season-ending shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum. A Spring Training setback due to inflammation stalled Garcia's throwing program and cost the left-hander an opportunity to open the season in the rotation. He stayed behind in Florida to build up arm strength and then made a pair of May appearances as a part of a rehab assignment.
His first one, with Double-A Springfield, lasted two innings because he was hit by a pitch on his left elbow. On Monday, Garcia threw five innings (74 pitches) for Triple-A Memphis.
"I'm at a point where I can compete and I can go out there and do what is asked of me to do," Garcia said Wednesday. "Obviously, you don't have it all figured out, but you go out there and can think about pitching and getting hitters out, not just how bad your shoulder is going to hurt. I'm here. I've got to get ready for [Sunday]. I'm really excited to be here. I was really anxious to get with this team."
The Cardinals had initially planned to have Garcia pitch once more with Memphis before moving him back into the rotation. Those plans needed to be tweaked, however, after Tyler Lyons' shoulder injury created an immediate starting vacancy. The Cardinals were comfortable turning to Garcia so soon, too, based on how well he pitched Monday.
"Velocity looks normal," Matheny said. "Movement is very good. And secondary stuff looks right. All things are pointed in a good direction."
Because he is not fully stretched out, Garcia will have a pitch count limit of about 90-95 in this weekend's start.
Bunting for hits is in Bourjos' game plan
ST. LOUIS -- Hours before the Cardinals capped a comeback win with a wild walk-off hit by pitch, it was Peter Bourjos' bunt single that sparked the club's climb back. Bourjos laid down a first-pitch bunt to open the sixth, reached safely and scored one of the two runs St. Louis plated in that frame.
Expect those bunt-for-a-hit attempts to continue.
"Bunting is something that has gotten away from me a little this year," Bourjos said. "It was tough early when I was hitting in front of the pitcher. It didn't really seem like there were too many opportunities. The last few days talking with [assistant hitting coach David Bell], I've been working on it a lot and trying to make it more a part of my game."
More opportunities have come with Bourjos' recent move into the seventh spot in the lineup. He has hit there in each of his last eight starts after batting predominately in the eight-hole to begin the season.
He may, however, be about to move back down to that eighth place now that second baseman Kolten Wong has returned to the club. Even still, the Cardinals will encourage Bourjos to continue to seek opportunities to utilize his speed to reach base.
"I think that's why you saw us consciously putting him in the seven spot, not just for the bunting but also the running," manager Mike Matheny said. "We're going to have to toy around with that a little bit. I want him to still continue to be aggressive. He'd be crazy not to continue that in his repertoire."
• Right-hander Jason Motte is expected to make his next rehab appearance with Triple-A Memphis on Thursday. Motte threw a scoreless inning (14 pitches, 10 strikes) for Memphis on Tuesday.
• The Cardinals announced that Marcus Luttrell, a retired Navy SEAL who authored the book "Lone Survivor," will be the keynote speaker at the organization's 24th annual Christian Day at the Ballpark, to be held on Aug. 2. The program will begin after the club's 6:15 p.m. CT game against the Brewers and will also include testimonies of faith from Cardinals players. For more information, visit cardinals.com/christianday.
• In his second start since a promotion to Class A Advanced Palm Beach, right-hander Nick Petree threw seven scoreless innings Tuesday. Petree scattered six hits, walked two and struck out three in the win.
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.