Ankiel expected to start rehab assignment

Thursday, July 29, 2004

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Cardinals said Wednesday they plan to have left-hander Rick Ankiel start a 30-day rehab assignment with their Class A affiliate in Palm Beach, Fla.

Ankiel had ligament transplant surgery on his elbow last July and has been working at the team's spring training complex in Jupiter, Fla.

Manager Tony La Russa said if Ankiel continues to make progress, he may be called up to St. Louis when rosters expand in September.

Ankiel hasn't pitched for the Cardinals since May 2001, and last appeared in a minor league game in July 2003. He worked 10 relief appearances and 10 starts at Class AA Tennessee before having surgery in Los Angeles last summer.

Ankiel, 25, won 11 games as a rookie in the Cardinals' starting rotation in 2000, then struggled with his control. Since then, he has had only six major league starts.

St. Louis center fielder Jim Edmonds left the Cardinals' game against the Cincinnati Reds in the fifth inning Wednesday night with tightness in his lower back.

He led off the fifth with a single and scored on a throwing error by first baseman Sean Casey that started a five-run rally for the Cardinals. Edmonds left in the bottom of the inning with St. Louis ahead 8-1.

Edmonds led off the third with his 27th homer off Cincinnati's Jose Acevedo, the third straight day he's homered. He has 12 in July, the most in the majors.

-- AP

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