Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Belisle Optimistic about Recovery

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Belisle Optimistic about Recovery

Article excerpt

CINCINNATI * The way his right forearm seized on him and restricted the motion of his elbow told Cardinals reliever Matt Belisle something more sinister than a cramp happening, and it was through follow-up exams that he learned the reason.

The ligament injury was rare, he said, and in need of attention.

"There's a line that I understand pretty clearly in my career, and this is one I couldn't go any further on," Belisle said. "It's not something we can pitch through. They confirmed that when we looked closer at the joint and what was going on. I couldn't put myself at risk for much more problems."

Brought to the Cardinals this offseason as a free agent to be a flex reliever who would allow others to specialize or appear in short bursts, Belisle has not pitched since June 25, and he acknowledged Wednesday that there is no timetable for his return to the mound. He has been encouraged by his arm's reaction to a recent rest period and said he's optimistic about returning to the mound soon. Within a few days, Belisle could start throwing again and begin a program that gets him closer to the mound.

The Cardinals added two relievers at the trade deadline in part because the righthanders, Belisle and Jordan Walden, they had counted on using to protect younger arms remained on the disabled list. Walden hasn't pitched in a big-league game since May because of soreness that has permeated his biceps and shoulder. He was recalled from his minor-league rehab assignment this week so that he could spend more time strengthening his body and arm for the rigors of relief.

Belisle, 35, had a 3.00 ERA in 30 appearances when he experienced a tightening in his forearm and right elbow after an outing June 25. The structure of the elbow is OK, he said. The injury has been likened to an ankle sprain, where the ligament causes swelling around the joint that limits its motion. The way Belisle twists his right hand when he pitches would have caused more troubles.

"You can't play basketball for a while with a rolled ankle, like that," he said.

The Cardinals have had Belisle continue to travel with the team as he's rehabbed or rested. …

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