Much like the 35 or so players who have been on the Cardinals' roster this season, Adam Wainwright is on a mission. Or at least he has a dream.

"My modest goal," he said, "is try to talk them into letting me play on the playoff roster in October."

There is one hitch in the Cardinals' righthander's case. He has not thrown a pitch all season after having Tommy John elbow surgery in late February, and the recovery time from such a procedure generally is pegged at closer to one year than seven months. And Wainwright agrees that chances are "probably bad" the club actually would accede to such a plan, no matter how he progresses in the next few months.

But there is another reason Wainwright would like to be on the active roster, rather than the disabled list, at the end of the season. It would mean that contract options for $9 million in 2012 and $12 million in 2013 automatically would vest. If he is on the DL at the end of this year, he can be a free agent and the Cardinals would have to negotiate another contract to keep Wainwright.

"I have great desire to stay here," said Wainwright, who won 39 games the previous two seasons. "I don't think it gets much better. And we're comfortable here."

Wainwright, bantering with second baseman Skip Schumaker the other day, made the point to Schumaker that he wanted to be off the disabled list at the end of the year to get "two more years, at least," on his contract. "And then maybe I can be on the roster, too," Wainwright said.

"He said, 'You're just doing it for the money.' I said, 'No, I'm doing it for both.' "

There can be much loneliness and boredom involved for a player recovering from serious injury or surgery, but Wainwright said he had dealt well with most everything this season through the first 79 games.

"Almost halfway, right?" he said. "It's gone quick. As Doc Holliday (in the movie 'Tombstone') would say, 'As right as the mail.' I'm doing good."

Wainwright hasn't traveled this season during his recovery, which this week for the first time will feature three days of him throwing a baseball into a net.

But at home he still is in uniform for every game in the dugout "as long they'll have me," said Wainwright.