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Trevor Rosenthal close to joining Cardinals bullpen

Rosey hit the DL to start the season but is nearing a return

MLB: Spring Training-St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

After his 2016 season was hampered by a shoulder injury and his spring was cut short by a lat problem, Cardinals relief pitcher Trevor Rosenthal is on the brink of a return to the big-league squad.

Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reported earlier on Friday that the team is leaning toward the right-hander throwing at Busch Stadium over the weekend, rather than sending him on a rehab assignment in the minors.

A plan like this shows that Rosenthal is nearing a return to the mound.

Rosenthal was placed on the disabled list in late July of last year with shoulder inflammation and remained shelved well into September. Though he appeared in games regularly throughout the first half, it was evident that something wasn’t quite right with Rosenthal for the season’s first few months.

The 26-year-old Rosenthal began the 2016 season as the Cardinals’ closer but ultimately lost his job to Seung Hwan Oh in late June after blowing his third save of the year, as his season ERA and BAA spiked to 5.63 and .292, respectively. Considering he set the franchise’s single-season save record with 48 (just three blown saves in the 51 opportunities) and pitched to rates of 10.88 K/9 and 3.28 BB/9 in his dazzling 2015 season the year prior, the ailment provided an explanation to his otherwise unforeseen decline on the mound.

After he pitched a bullpen session earlier this week - as reported by Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch - and if he can make it through his work at the stadium this weekend, perhaps Rosenthal will reclaim a spot in the big-league bullpen before the Cardinals begin their series with the Washington Nationals next week.

With the disabled list being shortened to ten days from fifteen, Rosenthal is eligible to be activated on Sunday.