Cards lose Edmonds to a calf strain in win

Saturday, March 8, 2003

JUPITER, Fla. -- Cardinals center fielder Jim Edmonds pulled a calf muscle Friday and will miss at least two weeks, but Rick Ankiel pitched a perfect inning in a 13-10 victory over the Florida Marlins.

Albert Pujols homered twice and drove in five runs for the Cardinals, one day after hitting a grand slam and knocking in five runs against Montreal.

Pujols, the team's only unsigned player, is batting .360 with four homers and 15 RBIs this spring.

Edmonds, playing for the first time since Tuesday, injured his left calf in the second inning.

"It's the first pulled muscle of my career. It felt like I got hit in the back of the leg with a ball or something," said Edmonds, who left the clubhouse on crutches.

Edmonds also came out of Tuesday's game with a leg injury.

"It's the same leg but the other was lower, near the Achilles' area," Edmonds said.

Ankiel threw 13 pitches in the third inning, his third one-inning stint this spring. He struck out Todd Hollandsworth, retired Miguel Cabrera on a grounder and got Alex Gonzalez on a popup.

"It gets better each time out, just getting more and more comfortable," Ankiel said. "Just getting out there and pitching and things are falling into place."

An 11-game winner as a rookie starter in 2000, Ankiel is trying to come back from control problems and an elbow injury that forced him to miss all of last season.

He is being given a chance to earn a spot in the bullpen this spring.

Cal Eldred got the win, pitching four hitless innings and striking out four.

"He was sensational," said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, who returned to the team Friday morning.

La Russa spent several days in California attending the trial of a defendant accused of assaulting one of his daughters.


La Russa had planned to fly back to California on Sunday night, but after the game, La Russa said the man on trial plead guilty to assaulting 23-year-old Bianca La Russa a few years ago. During the offseason, La Russa, his wife, Elaine, and daughters Bianca and Devon, 20, live in Danville, Calif.

The Cardinals renewed the contract of RHP Jason Simontacchi, who will make $300,000. Simontacchi was 11-5 with a 4.02 ERA in 24 starts last season after being promoted from Triple-A Memphis in late April. He is scheduled to start today against the Mets.

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