Sinkerballer Jake Westbrook began what is expected to be a two-start climb back to the major-league rotation with 60 pitches and 3 2/3 innings Tuesday night at Class AA Springfield.

"I felt pretty good," Westbrook said from Springfield, Mo. "It was good to get up four times, get into the fourth inning after two long innings in the first couple. Everything felt good, which was good. I was a little erratic with my pitches, but I guess that's understandable the first time out. It wasn't terrible by any means, but I wasn't as sharp as I'd like to have been."

Westbrook, who is on the disabled list with right elbow inflammation, allowed one run and six hits in his brief turn for the Springfield (Mo.) Cardinals. He struck out five.

Westbrook allowed three hits in the first inning, including one infield single.

"I didn't walk anybody so that was good," the righty said. "I just wasn't as sharp with my fastball (and) a few of my off-speed pitches."

Westbrook’s target was 60 pitches so that in his second start, Sunday in Peoria, he’ll throw 80 and be ready for 100 when he returns to the big-league active roster.

"I have the confidence that if Sunday is my last start," Westbrook said, "that translates going into a big-league game."


During this week’s amateur draft, Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran will hear something he hasn’t since 1995 – his name announced during the picks. It could happen often.

This spring the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy in Puerto Rico celebrated its first graduating class, and with it comes the likelihood several of its seniors will be drafted. Baseball America ranks two position players in its top 500 draft prospects, and a handful of other seniors have drawn mention.

The academy, founded in 2011, is a $10 million passion project for Beltran and his family, and friends say he contributed more than a third of the cost. Beltran said this spring’s entire graduating class has received offers to play in college.

“I remember when I was 18 and got the call from the Royals that I had been drafted and what a great experience that moment was,” Beltran said. “That was a dream that I wanted to give as an opportunity to the kids back home.”