Eldred recovers slowly from heart infection

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

ST. LOUIS -- These days, walking around and holding a conversation ranks as progress for Cardinals reliever Cal Eldred.

The right-hander has been sidelined since April 11 with myopericarditis, an infection of the lining around his heart. There's no timetable for his return from the 15-day disabled list and once he's cleared to resume baseball activities, Eldred might have to go through the equivalent of a personal spring training.

He planned to watch some of Tuesday night's game against the Brewers, but from the comfort of a clubhouse couch.

"I'm feeling a little better, but I still know I've got a ways to go," Eldred said. "No. 1, I can feel it. No. 2, you listen to the doctors and that's what they tell you, that you've got a ways to go."

For now, rest is being prescribed. Eldred is restricted from lifting more than 10 pounds.

"My mind is ready to go, without a doubt," Eldred said. "Nobody wants to be sitting out. I think common sense tells me this is not an elbow you're going to push or a knee you're going to push, this is the function of your body."

He's had to learn to be patient. During his visit with doctors on Tuesday, he told them how much he enjoys working out.

"I'm not a guy that would love to not have to do it," Eldred said. "But if you overdo it, you'll just make it worse."

The ailment had originally been diagnosed as bronchitis contracted in the team's season-opening series at Houston. Doctors believe it may have developed from a throat infection and two ear infections Eldred contracted while in Houston.

"You don't really know exactly what's wrong, and your chest is killing you and you can't breathe," Eldred said. "That's not a good thing.

"I know I feel a lot better than I did then."

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