Wellemeyer replaces Eckstein on 15-day DL

Friday, July 13, 2007

Edmonds will accompany team on trip; Brendan Ryan returned to Memphis.

ST. LOUIS -- David Eckstein spent the All-Star break working to escape the 15-day disabled list.

Eckstein spent several hours each day at Busch Stadium proving he's ready to shake off a back injury. He came off the DL on Thursday in the biggest in a flurry of moves the St. Louis Cardinals made heading into the first game after the break.

"Everything's looking good," Eckstein said. "I'm so anxious, I just want to get back on the field and be a contributor.

"The trainers want me on the field as soon as possible because I've become a bit of a pest."

Eckstein, batting .313 with two home runs and 12 RBIs, has been on the DL since June 14 with a knot in the middle of his back that has cleared up after anti-inflammatory injections early last week. He was the World Series MVP last season -- this year, the banged-up Cardinals are 7 1/2 games behind Milwaukee in the NL Central.

The Cardinals put right-hander Todd Wellemeyer on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained elbow sustained in a freak accident. He hurt himself when he banged his right elbow on his left knee following through on a pitch Sunday and has been ordered not to throw for three weeks.

Wellemeyer was taken out after five scoreless innings in a 7-0 victory over the Giants as a precaution, and the elbow tightened considerably the next day. An MRI exam on Monday confirmed the injury, which team doctors compared to a sprained ankle while prescribing rest.

Wellemeyer recalls banging the knee on a pitch in his final inning. He said that happened to him three years ago, but didn't result in injury.

This one knocked Wellemeyer, 3-1 with a 4.19 ERA, out of action four days after the Cardinals moved him back to the bullpen and reinstated Kip Wells to the rotation. Wells, 3-11 with a 5.92 ERA but coming off a successful stint in relief after being demoted in mid-June, will start Friday night in Philadelphia.

Edmonds shows progress

Injured center fielder Jim Edmonds is close enough to returning that he'll accompany the team on its 10-game trip to start the second half tonight.

"The fact he's making progress is exciting," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "He knew how he felt. I came to the park expecting to have an open mind."

Edmonds, batting .238 with seven homers and 24 RBIs, has been on the DL since June 16 with a pinched nerve in his lower back related to offseason surgery on his shoulder and foot that hindered his offseason conditioning. The Cardinals had been anticipating he'd return later in the month but the timetable has been moved up after Edmonds' successful workout on Thursday.

"I did everything today, and hopefully I can put a program together and get in the lineup as soon as possible," Edmonds said. "I'm trying to do everything they want me to do to allow me to play."

Infielder Brendan Ryan was optioned to Class AAA Memphis to make room for Eckstein and right-hander Andy Cavazos was recalled from Memphis.

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