Manager Tony La Russa got at least a glimpse of the Cardinals' future when he watched SP Mark Mulder, making his first visit to St. Louis in weeks, long-tossing in the outfield with SP Chris Carpenter late Wednesday afternoon. Both are on the disabled list, with the Cardinals hoping Carpenter, who has had elbow issues, will be able to come back within a week or 10 days rather than having to submit to surgery. As for Mulder, who has been at the Cardinals' spring training complex in Jupiter, Fla., as he continues to recover from rotator cuff surgery done last September, La Russa says he has hopes but no expectations. "It's a long process," the manager said. "What's the accuracy of predicting when he can come back? Step by step. It's a laborious thing."
Mulder is currently in a throwing program that has him tossing from 120 feet. His next step is 150 feet before he begins pitching on flat ground. "It feels right, and I have to remind myself what it feels like to have it right again," he said. "It's tough sometimes to trust the shoulder after (last season), but I know that it feels completely different. There isn't the pain."