The Cardinals intend to have rookie Jack Flaherty finish the season in the rotation, though they expect to have another, more-seasoned option available as early as Tuesday to provide relief, as much as needed.

Adam Wainwright faced hitters Sunday morning at Wrigley Field in a batting practice-like setting, and the brevity of Wainwright’s work hinted that he could come back from his elbow injury when the Cardinals open their next series, Tuesday at Cincinnati. The Cardinals will bring Wainwright back initially as a reliever, and John Mozeliak, the president of baseball operations, said the remaining schedule is so short it’s probable relief is where Wainwright will stay.

“As soon as they need me,” said Wainwright, who last pitched Aug. 17. He added that in his session Sunday, “I wanted to locate everything with life and get grounders and punch-outs. When I know I’m going good, I’m getting grounders and getting punch-outs.”

The Cardinals had told Flaherty to prepare to start Tuesday, though they did not confirm the assignment until Sunday. The schedule will give Flaherty three more starts this season, and by staying on turn for Tuesday it means he’ll be the one starter who does not face the first-place Cubs in the four-game series next week at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals believe they can manage Flaherty’s workload as well by having two pitchers available in a “piggyback” approach, Mozeliak called it.

Wainwright or reliever John Gant would be paired with Flaherty to tag in after four or five innings. Mozeliak also suggested that Gant could start and Flaherty relieve.