ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Cardinals are poised to activate pitcher Andy Benes from the disabled list next week to help shore up the starting rotation.
Benes, who has been on the 60-day disabled list with an arthritic right knee, was called Wednesday by Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty, two days after the right-hander allowed seven earned runs and six walks in a rehabilitation start for Class A Potomac.
Benes' rehab assignment was scheduled to end today, but the Cardinals thought it more important to make him available for next Tuesday's start against the Los Angeles Dodgers than to make another rehab start. He was with the team in San Diego before Friday night's game.
"It's a compliment to Andy to have done well enough to get this opportunity. But the real compliment he needs is to do something with it," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said in advance of St. Louis' game Friday night at San Diego, the Cardinals' first since the All-Star break.
Benes, 34, last faced major league hitters April 15 in Phoenix, allowing 10 runs -- three earned -- in three innings before landing on the disabled list.
Cardinals starter Woody Williams probably will be placed on the disabled list before Tuesday with a strained muscle in his left side. Jocketty said Williams is expected to miss at least his next two starts, with Benes appearing in his place.
The Cardinals, who had seven candidates for the starting rotation during spring training, have been looking for pitching help heading into the season's second half.