When Cardinals manager Mike Matheny approached him in the outfield during batting practice on Thursday, closer Edward Mujica had a confession to make.

He had played catch.

It was only a little catch, a few tosses, but he had done it.

“I wasn’t supposed to throw that day,” before or during the game, Mujica said Saturday. “He says, ‘What are you doing on the off day? You’re supposed to be off. No throwing. No nothing.’”

Mujica has had few off days this season. His save Friday, his 26th of this season, came in his seventh appearance in eight games. He had pitched a total of six innings in nine days and come through the stretch, which started with his first blown save of the season, with five saves and a victory. He also gained a feel for his resilience.

“It’s the first time in my career I’ve really done that,” Mujica said. “I didn’t pitch like this — seven games out of nine days — before, but I feel pretty good. I feel strong. The important thing is that I keep working every day to keep my legs under me. I don’t think it’s the arm too much. The body is important. If you have the same delivery, that means you’ve got the strength with your legs and your body and the leverage is going to be there to make pitches.”

Mujica had planned to retreat to Miami for the All-Star break with his family, but he’s changed those plans to limit travel. He rescheduled his infant daughter’s one-year checkup for Wednesday and will remain in St. Louis for the break — unless he’s called to New York for the All-Star Game. Mujica’s 26 saves rank second in the National League, and NL manager Bruce Bochy is going to have to add several replacement pitchers.

The two starters in Sunday night’s game at Wrigley — Adam Wainwright and the Cubs’ Travis Wood — can opt out of pitching in the All-Star Game, on Tuesday, because of their Sunday start. Wainwright expects to make that official after the game.

Already this weekend, Pittsburgh lefty Jeff Locke said he will not pitch in the All-Star Game because of back soreness. Washington’s Jordan Zimmermann also is to be replaced.

Reports in San Francisco have Bochy ready to name Giants closer Sergio Romo to the team. Mujica and possibly starter Lance Lynn would be candidates from the Cardinals. Mujica has had several teammates stump for him, including Wainwright.

“It’s out of my hands,” Mujica said. “If it’s going to happen, I’ll be so happy.”

The first-year closer is on pace with other first-half totals from his career. He has appeared in 40 games and thrown 392/3 innings. In each of the previous four seasons, he appeared in between 35 and 40 games and pitched no more than 422/3 innings. Matheny had no intention of using Mujica at all Thursday and did plot a way to avoid using him for a save situation Friday.