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'Rzep' eyeing return to game this week

2013-03-14T13:05:00Z 2013-03-14T15:08:49Z 'Rzep' eyeing return to game this weekBy Derrick Goold dgoold@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8285 stltoday.com

JUPITER, Fla. • Within hours of getting a new prescription to help him see clearly out of his left eye, Marc Rzepczynski couldn't see at all through his new pair of glasses.

His vision, skewed in the morning, was back to normal that night.

"I couldn't see Waino's jersey yesterday," Rzepczynski said, gesturing toward Adam Wainwright's No. 50 hanging about 15 feet away. "But it's clear today."

Rzepczynski, who had his eye struck by a projectile while golfing a week ago, met with an eye doctor on Wednesday morning. During that checkup, he was fitted for a prescription that would help his eye see while it recovered from corneal abrasion and contusion. The new prescription sharpened his vision out of the eye -- for awhile.

Within hours he could see clearer without the glasses, he said.

"That was the worry," he said, "that there would be a permanent change of prescription. The next thing for me is to pitch in a game and have a ball come back my way."

Rzpeczynski will throw a side session today -- sans prescription glasses, likely -- and is aiming to pitch in a game Friday.

He will see the eye doctor on Friday to get that permission.

He is not sure if the improvement in his eye will mean wearing glasses -- with a new prescription, which is close to his previous prescription -- or if he'll be able to wear contacts again when the swelling in the eye completely calms.

"It's been a complete 180 (degrees) in a couple hours," he said.

The Cardinals take the field against the Braves this afternoon at Roger Dean Stadium with all eyes on the mound. Joe Kelly is starting (and batting ninth) and Shelby Miller will come in after, in relief. The two arms are the last ones being considered for the fifth starter spot. Kelly has only to reinforce his hold on the job. Miller has to do more to take it away.

After today's game the Cardinals have said they expect to focus on one of the starters to get him the necessary innings before the start of the regular season.

Speaking of returns: Matt Holliday back in the lineup for the first time since a stomach illness sidelined him for almost a week. Mike Matheny is also back in camp after jetting back to St. Louis for back surgery.

Here is the lineup that will back both:

1. Jon Jay, CF

2. Matt Carpenter, 2B

3. Matt Holliday, LF

4. Allen Craig, 1B

5. David Freese, 3B

6. Oscar Taveras, RF

7. Pete Kozma, SS

8. Tony Cruz, C

9. Joe Kelly, P

Check back throughout the day here at StlToday.com for updates from Cardinals camp. And Rick Hummel will be at the keyboard this afternoon with his coverage and insights from the game against Atlanta.

Derrick Goold covers the Cardinals and Major League Baseball for The Post-Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter at @dgoold or on Facebook at Facebook.com/BirdLandPD

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Cardinal Beat

Baseball writers Derrick Goold and Rick Hummel cover the Cardinals for the Post-Dispatch and STLtoday.com. They'll provide daily Cardinals updates here, from the start of spring training through the end of the season and beyond.

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