ST. LOUIS -- Starter Shaun Marcum took a major step in his recovery from right elbow soreness on Sunday, throwing a simulated game before the Brewers' series finale against the Cardinals.

After a successful bullpen session on Wednesday, Marcum threw 30 pitches on Sunday. He said he was pleased with his ability to locate his pitches, and felt fine physically.

"You can only do so much in bullpens," Marcum said. "So it's nice to get out there and get up and down, see some hitters in the box. That way you can tell how they're reacting to pitches and how the ball's coming out."

Marcum will play catch on Monday, and will make plans to potentially begin a Minor League rehab stint, depending on how his elbow feels. Marcum said he felt no soreness on Sunday, and doesn't anticipate any ensuing pain or tightness on Monday.

Marcum hopes to begin a rehab assignment on Thursday, and expects that two appearances in the Minors would be enough before making a return to the Brewers' rotation. Marcum was placed on the 15-day disabled list on June 23, retroactive to June 15, and transferred to the 60-day DL on July 29.

Marcum last started a game on June 14 against Kansas City, allowing two runs on four hits over 7 2/3 innings. He was 3-0 with a 2.30 ERA in four starts prior to heading to the DL.

Parra encouraged after throwing session

ST. LOUIS -- After playing catch for the first time in more than a week on Saturday, reliever Manny Parra increased his distance in another flat ground throwing session on Sunday. Parra, who has been shut down with left shoulder impingement, threw from 90 feet on Sunday and was encouraged by the session.

Parra said his shoulder felt good after increasing his throwing distance, and he feels nothing out of the ordinary in his shoulder. Parra will meet with team physician Dr. William Raasch on Monday to assess his progress.

Parra will likely play catch again on Monday, but said he's unsure of what the next step in his recovery could be. He said he hopes to get in some work off the mound soon, but will leave that decision up to the doctors.

"Who knows?" Parra said. "Maybe I'll just get out there. The only thing I focus on is trying to feel good."

Last call

• Aramis Ramirez was back in the Brewers' starting lineup on Sunday after missing two straight games. Ramirez received a cortisone injection on Thursday for a sore left wrist. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said Ramirez will was available to pinch-hit on Saturday, and was feeling healthy enough to start on Sunday.

"He told me he was playing, so he was playing," Roenicke said, joking.

• On Saturday, Roenicke suggested Nyjer Morgan may start Sunday's game due to past success Morgan has had against St. Louis starter Kyle Lohse. Morgan is 4-for-11 lifetime against Lohse. However, Roenicke penciled in Norichika Aoki batting leadoff and playing right field on Sunday. Aoki has yet to face Lohse.

• John Axford has had mixed success against the Cardinals this season. Most recently, the Brewers reliever allowed two earned runs on two hits in one-third of an inning on Friday, and prior to that picked up the win on July 18 while throwing 1 1/3 scoreless innings.

The Cardinals are batting .438 as a team against Axford this season, but he said there's no rhyme or reason to how he does against one team.

"It isn't like you look at a particular team like, 'Oh no' or 'Oh yes,' It's all the same," Axford said. 'They're all big league players. They're gonna hit mistakes if you throw them and they're gonna work you when you're out there. It's difficult no matter what team or what person you're facing."