Sinkerballer Jake Westbrook completed what is expected to be his final rehab start Sunday evening with Class A Peoria. Westbrook breezed through seven innings at the Cardinals’ affiliate on 76 pitches.

Westbrook was economical in his early innings and allowed one run on four hits. He struck out five and coaxed 14 groundouts.

Westbrook (elbow inflammation) could be ready to rejoin the big-league rotation as early as Friday in Miami. Lefty Tyler Lyons would be on turn to make that start otherwise.

“We’ll see how (Westbrook) feels, see what it looks like, see what our need is also,” Matheny said. “The need will dictate when (he starts).”


Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran had a flight chartered from Cincinnati to Puerto Rico late Sunday night so that he could attend this morning’s graduation at the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy. The academy has been called by friends as his passion project, and this year’s class of 44 boys is the first to graduate from the high school Beltran founded. All have commitments to play college baseball.

“I’ve got to do it. I’ve got to be there. The kids are expecting me to be there,” Beltran said. “And I want to see the looks on their faces, their parents’ faces, the smiles.”