CINCINNATI -- Jake Westbrook wasn't sure Wednesday what plans St. Louis decision-makers had for him when he's eligible to come off the disabled list on Friday, but whatever they are, he believes he's ready.
Westbrook, on the 15-day disabled list since Aug. 22 with a lower back strain, threw all of his pitches during what he described as two "extended" simulated innings in the Great American Ball Park visitors' bullpen before Tuesday's game and reported no problems a day later.
"It feels pretty good," said the right-hander, who turns 36 on September 29. "I was able to get up and down a couple of times. I got after it pretty good. I was trying to gain stamina."
Westbrook's "crispness" and "sharpness" still needed work, manager Mike Matheny said before Wednesday's game, adding that the pitcher's role once he is ready will depend on the team's needs at that time.
"You don't want them getting one thing in their mind when we don't have answers," Matheny said. "It's our job to put him in the right spot."
Westbrook, who is 7-8 with a 4.49 earned run average in 18 starts and one relief appearance this season, said he would prefer to return to the starting rotation when he's activated. He was able to maintain his conditioning after taking a few days off when the problem -- which he described as more of an "aggravation" than spasms or "locking up" -- first developed.
"I don't know what their plans are for me," Westbrook said.
What Westbrook did know was he would be tweaking his physical regimen in an effort to avoid further problems.
"As you get older, things start hurting," Westbrook said.
Craig has foot sprain, will get MRI in St. Louis
CINCINNATI -- St. Louis first baseman Allen Craig left the Cardinals' game against the Reds in the top of the fourth inning on Wednesday with what was originally diagnosed as a left foot sprain.
X-rays of the foot were inconclusive, according to manager Mike Matheny. Craig was scheduled to return to St. Louis for an MRI, he said.
"It's a foot sprain, but I'll find out more tomorrow," said Craig, who was wearing a boot and using crutches. "They want me to have the MRI tomorrow to find out exactly what's going on without making any assumptions."
Craig was credited with an infield single on a chopper that Cincinnati first baseman Joey Votto fielded with a diving stop, but then threw over the head of pitcher Bronson Arroyo and into foul territory in front of the first-base dugout.
Carlos Beltran was on second with the Reds leading, 2-1, and he scored the tying run on Votto's throwing error while Craig sustained his injury rounding first and trying to avoid first-base umpire Laz Diaz.
"[I] just turned to see where the ball was going and I saw that it was an overthrow," Craig said. "I was wondering if I was going to advance on the play. I must have just done something weird.
"It scared me, because my foot has never bent like that before. I tried to walk it off because it was a little sore. It's still sore. We'll figure out the extent of it tomorrow. Hope it's good."
Craig was hitless in his previous 11 at-bats before the infield single. He went into the game ranked third in the National League with 97 RBIs and sixth in hitting with a .314 batting average. His .450 average with runners in scoring position led Major League Baseball.
Carpenter ties Hornsby's doubles record
CINCINNATI -- Matt Carpenter's sixth-inning double on Wednesday night against the Reds in Cincinnati was his 46th of the season, moving him into a four-way tie for the most doubles in franchise history by a player who primarily plays second base.
Carpenter tied the record set by Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby in 1922, which was matched by Hall of Famer Frankie Frisch in '30 and Sparky Adams in '31.
Carpenter's double was his third hit of the game and his sixth in the series.
Recovering Cruz takes cuts in batting cage
CINCINNATI -- Just because Tony Cruz was activated from the disabled list didn't mean he was healthy.
The Cardinals' backup catcher, who was placed on the 15-day DL on Aug. 15 with a stress fracture of his left forearm, was activated on Sept. 1, even though he wasn't ready to play.
Cruz hit in the indoor batting cage at Great American Ball Park on Tuesday and Wednesday before taking batting practice with the rest of the team on the field on Wednesday.
"It felt good," Cruz said.
Cruz arrived early at the ballpark on Wednesday to evaluate how he felt after Tuesday's activity, manager Mike Matheny said, and the catcher will most likely follow the same procedure on Thursday.
"He's not too far away," Matheny said. "Generally, he's making good steps forward. He's doing the right things."
Cruz had played in 41 games, hitting .212 with one home run and 11 RBIs, before he was injured.
Matheny considers Axford's struggles in Cincinnati
CINCINNATI -- John Axford's career statistics at Great American Ball Park might make some managers think twice about bringing him into a game.
St. Louis's Mike Matheny admits that he's one of them, but Axford's previous performance wouldn't be the sole or even overriding factor in deciding whether to use the right-handed relief pitcher.
After allowing a hit and walk in two-thirds of an inning in Monday's 7-2 loss to the Reds, Axford was 0-4 with a 9.58 ERA in 13 games -- all in relief -- against the Reds in Cincinnati entering Wednesday's game. He's allowed 18 hits, including five home runs, and 11 runs in 10 1/3 innings.
"If there's a specific team a guy struggles against, yeah, you'd keep an eye on that," Matheny said. "Generally, how a guy's feeling and what our needs are would override history."
St. Louis acquired Axford from Milwaukee on Aug. 30 for a player to be named later.
Cardinals' Minor Leaguer suspended
CINCINNATI -- The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced on Wednesday that Minor League second baseman Brett Wiley has received a 50-game suspension without pay after testing positive for an amphetamine.
The suspension of Wiley, who is on the roster for the Cardinals' short-season Class A affiliate State College of the New York-Penn League, was effective immediately.
Wiley, 21, hit .308 with four homers, 43 RBIs, 10 stolen bases and a .395 on-base percentage in 60 games between State College, Rookie level Johnson City and Class A Peoria.
Wiley hit .337 with two home runs and 18 RBIs in 25 games for State College, which went into Wednesday's regular-season finale at Jamestown, N.Y., as champions of the Pinckney Division.
The 5-foot-10 Indiana native was drafted by the Cardinals as a shortstop in the 13th round of the 2012 Draft out of Jefferson Junior College in Hillsboro, Mo., and Wiley split last season between the Gulf Coast League Cardinals and Class A Quad Cities.
Mark Schmetzer is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.