Preston Wilson was placed on the 15-day disabled list.
ST. LOUIS -- Persistent knee pain landed St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Preston Wilson on the 15-day disabled list Sunday, and the team replaced him with its best minor league hitter.
Outfielder Ryan Ludwick, whose contract was purchased from Class AAA Memphis, was batting a team-leading .340 with eight home runs, and his 36 RBIs and 27 runs led the Pacific Coast League. Cardinals manager Tony La Russa immediately plugged him into the struggling lineup that trailed the NL in runs, batting him sixth against the Houston Astros on Sunday. He played right field and was 0-for-4 with a run-scoring groundout.
La Russa said Ludwick would start again today in the opener of a three-game series against Colorado.
The team also purchased the contract of right-handed reliever Brian Falkenborg, who leads the PCL with nine saves and was 0-1 with a 2.03 ERA in 11 games.
Wilson was batting .219 with one homer and five RBIs in 64 at-bats. He had been getting playing time with outfielder Juan Encarnacion on a rehab assignment following offseason wrist surgery, but has had trouble with his right knee since banging it on an outfield fence in spring training.
La Russa said Encarnacion, batting .146 with two RBIs in 41 at-bats, needs more time.
The Cardinals optioned reliever Dennis Dove, who allowed a grand slam in Saturday's 13-0 loss to the Astros. In three games Dove allowed two homers and five earned runs in three innings for a 15.00 ERA.
Dove had been a short-term call up, holding a spot for Chris Carpenter. Carpenter, whose elbow failed to respond to a rehab program and rest, will undergo surgery Tuesday to shave bone spurs and will be sidelined three months.