Michael Wacha begins throwing program Tuesday

Michael Wacha could return to the Cardinals rotation this season.
Michael Wacha could return to the Cardinals rotation this season. (USATSI)

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Cardinals starting pitcher Michael Wacha has been granted clearance to begin a throwing program Tuesday, reports Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Will he be back this season? The chances sound good, via stltoday.com:

General manager John Mozeliak wouldn’t speculate on how long it would be before the righthander could pitch again, but he said he asked the question of the club’s medical staff, “Are you optimistic that he will pitch this year in the major leagues? They said, ‘Yes.’

Wacha, 23, hasn't pitched since June 17 due to a shoulder injury. He's 5-5 with a 2.79 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 83 strikeouts in 90 1/3 innings this season.

After acquiring two starters in front of the trade deadline, the Cardinals' rotation is Adam Wainwright, John Lackey, Justin Masterson, Lance Lynn and Shelby Miller. If Wacha returns, I'll estimate that he takes Miller's spot, but there could always be additional injuries by then.

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