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Mike Matheny impressed with Michael Wacha's bullpen session

Mike Matheny impressed with Michael Wacha's bullpen session Photo: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Michael Wacha moved closer to returning from the disabled list Monday, throwing a 35-pitch bullpen session for St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. Matheny was impressed by Wacha's progress, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"I was expecting less," Matheny said of the session. He added the Cardinals "are being aggressive, [with] a little more intensity. It looked really close to what we normally would see when he’s out there."

Wacha also threw a bullpen session on Saturday, saying afterwards that his arm "felt great."

More: Seattle pitchers making history

Wacha has been sidelined since June 17 with a stress reaction in his throwing shoulder. Last year as a rookie, he started nine games, going 4-1 with a 2.78 ERA. The 23-year-old right-hander started five playoff games, going 4-1 with a 2.64 ERA and striking out 33 batters. He was named MVP of the National League Championship Series after two scoreless starts spanning 13.2 innings. 

At the trade deadline, the Cardinals acquired right-hander John Lackey from the Boston Red Sox. Lackey is 1-1 with a 6.16 ERA in three starts with the Cardinals, who sit 2.5 games back of the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central. 

- Alex Hampl

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