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Last updated: March 14. 2013 10:48PM - 1994 Views

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2013 file photo, St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny talks during a news conference announcing his contract extension at the team's spring training baseball facility in Jupiter, Fla. Matheny returned to the club Thursday, March 14, 2013 after undergoing back surgery Monday in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2013 file photo, St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny talks during a news conference announcing his contract extension at the team's spring training baseball facility in Jupiter, Fla. Matheny returned to the club Thursday, March 14, 2013 after undergoing back surgery Monday in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)
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JUPITER, Fla. — Cardinals manager Mike Matheny returned to the club Thursday after undergoing back surgery Monday in St. Louis.


Matheny was best with severe pain for several days, stemming from a ruptured disc in his back that caused particles to come into contact with a nerve. Surgeons found and removed four particles during a 90-minute procedure, known as a microdiscectomy.


“It was something, as much as I was going to try to put it off, it would not have gotten better on its own,” Matheny said. “It had to be taken care of.


“I was impressed with how much better I felt right away. I still have a long way to go but definitely better.”


Matheny hoped an epidural shot would relieve the pain and help with the inflammation but the effects of that soon wore off and he had no choice but to have the procedure back in St. Louis.


The second-year Cardinals manager returned home Sunday night, missing games on Monday and Tuesday before returning Wednesday evening.


Matheny doesn’t expect to miss any additional time but said he was told not to lift anything heavier than five pounds for the next eight weeks. It’s unclear whether he’ll be able to throw batting practice in the near future.


”It doesn’t take very much to make you appreciate the health that you have,” Matheny said. “Things like your back that you use all the time, you do take it for granted. It’s good to feel better.”


Twins send RHP Gibson to Triple-A Rochester


MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson will begin his comeback season from Tommy John surgery in the minors.


The Twins optioned Gibson to Triple-A Rochester on Thursday.


The former first-round draft pick was considered among the favorites to make the Twins rotation to start the season. But he struggled with his command in four spring training outings. Gibson gave up eight runs in eight innings over those four appearances. He threw three wild pitches in one inning against Philadelphia last weekend.


That, coupled with right-hander Cole De Vries’ strong spring, may have convinced the Twins to start Gibson in the minors.


They also optioned left-hander Caleb Thielbar to Rochester and reassigned right-hander Anthony Slama, catcher Kyle Knudson and infielder James Beresford to minor league camp.


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