ST. LOUIS -- Seventeen days ago, Jake Westbrook was facing the possibility of surgery on his right elbow that could have ended his season. But a couple of hours before a scheduled flight to see Dr. James Andrews, Westbook played a game of catch. His arm felt so good that he didn't step on the plane.
A few more bullpen sessions and two rehab starts later, Westbrook is set to return to the Cardinals' rotation. He is scheduled to start Friday night at Miami against Marlins phenom Jose Fernandez.
So what happened? How did Westbrook go from surgery candidate to healthy starter practically overnight?
"I really can't explain it," said Westbrook, before theorizing a shot of cortisone might have taken a few days longer to work than was first expected.
Not that the "how" mattered much. "As long as I keep feeling great, I really don't care," he said.
Feeling great, of course, is a relative term for a 35-year-old right-hander who has pitched 1,670 big league innings. As Westbrook said, ...