GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Kyle McClellan has waited all spring while he recovered from a sore shoulder as other candidates for the fifth starter slot continually took to the mound in an effort to stake their claim to the job.
The only consolation for McClellan was recognizing the importance of being fully recovered from the shoulder surgery he underwent on July 10 before showing his new team what he's capable of.
The right-hander will finally get that chance when he makes his Cactus League debut against the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday.
"It's one of those things where I know what I can do and have just been anxious to get back out on the field, but I have to be healthy in order to do that," McClellan said. "When you come into a new organization you want to show that you are what they signed you for, and I feel like I can do that."
The muscle soreness that led to the long layoff was a byproduct of the midseason surgery McClellan underwent while still a member of the St. Louis Cardinals. He has progressed gradually with his pitching regimen, most recently throwing a 52-pitch bullpen session Wednesday. He will toss live batting practice Saturday -- the final step before seeing live game action for the first time since last May.
"When I first got here, I felt good and still had a little bit of an impingement in there," McClellan said. "I feel like I am over the hump. Everyone I talk to says I've gotten over my last hurdle and I think I am ready to go. I feel like I can throw in a game."
Even with a longer than usual spring training -- due to the World Baseball Classic -- time was becoming an issue. It's difficult to compete for a spot in the starting rotation if you can't pitch in a game.
"If he would have kept missing time, time would have ran out on him," manager Ron Washington said. "But he has a chance to get in the mix."
McClellan was last used in the rotation in 2011, when he made 17 starts for St. Louis and posted a 6-6 record with a 4.21 ERA. He was moved to the bullpen after the Cardinals acquired Edwin Jackson. Of his 261 career appearances, McClellan has made all but those 17 as a reliever.
Other injury notes:
OF Leonys Martin (tight left hamstring) is in the lineup Thursday after missing one game.
3B Mike Olt will miss his second game after having a wisdom tooth pulled on Wednesday.
C Eli Whiteside is sidelined with a mild left calf strain.
RHP Colby Lewis (surgery - torn flexor tendon) will throw his next bullpen on Sunday.
RHP Neftali Feliz (Tommy John surgery) is throwing out to 75 feet.
RHP Yoshinori Tateyama (lower back stiffness) and RHP Tanner Scheppers (mild right hamstring tightness) both pitched in Wednesday's 'B' game against the Chicago Cubs, marking their return from injury.
LHP Martin Perez (fractured left ulna) is not expected to resume a throwing program for approximately four weeks.