Lohse throws simulated game

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse threw about 85 pitches counting warmups in a simulated game Friday and left feeling ready for a rehab start that could be the last step before returning to the rotation.

Barring a setback, the right-hander said he was set to pitch at Double-A Springfield in five or six days. He's been on the 15-day disabled list with a right forearm flexor strain since June 4, an injury originally sustained when he was hit by a pitch when squaring to bunt on May 23.

Lohse worked on his stamina in 93-degree heat and said there's been no pain in the forearm for nearly two weeks.

"It felt good," Lohse said. "Obviously I got a little tired at the end, but I pushed through it and still made some pitches. That's what we were looking for."

Lohse, a 15-game winner last year, is 4-4 with a 3.99 ERA in 10 starts.

"You can't put dates on stuff like this, you've got to take it on the field," Lohse said. "It feels normal, and now it's a matter of my shoulder and everything else being ready for the grind."

Infielder Brendan Ryan had a cortisone injection for a right wrist injury Friday morning and might be limited to pinch running for a few days. Ryan was 5 for 14 with a homer the previous four games against the Mets but said the injury hinders him at the plate.

"I want to be out there every day, just like anyone else, and was pretty much getting an opportunity to do that," Ryan said. "What can you do, though? Hopefully, when I come back from this thing, I'll move forward and feel a lot better on and off the field."

Ryan said the injury made day to day activities difficult, too.

"It was sucking a lot of fun out of everyday stuff," Ryan said. "It was almost like I needed some WD40 in there just to kind of lube things up."