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Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Two of Cards' starting outfielders likely to start on DL

Associated Press

JUPITER, Fla. -- Center fielder Jim Edmonds and right fielder Juan Encarnacion are likely to be on the disabled list when the St. Louis Cardinals start the defense of their World Series title.

Juan Encarnacion
Jim Edmonds

Edmonds is coming off foot and shoulder surgery, and the Cardinals had said earlier that he might not be ready for the April 1 opener against the New York Mets. Encarnacion is recovering from an operation on his left wrist.

"I can't expect him to be there Opening Day," manager Tony La Russa said Wednesday. "He doesn't want to get pushed and I don't want to push him."

Edmonds began hitting only this week.

"They're not imminent," La Russa said. "They still get tired and weak or whatever it is."

Encarnacion batted .278 with 19 homers and 79 RBIs last year. He batted .225 in the final month of the season and was 8-for-43 (.186) in the postseason.

After the surgery in early December, the Cardinals expected him to be ready for the start of the season.

"I think he just wanted to be careful, and I don't blame him," La Russa said. "It's a long season."

Edmonds was limited to 110 games last year due to injuries, including post-concussion syndrome. He led the Cardinals with 10 RBIs in the postseason after hitting .257 with 19 homers and 70 RBIs, his lowest totals since 1999.

Chris Duncan could start in left field, Preston Wilson or So Taguchi in center and Scott Spiezio in right.

Rick Ankiel started in center field against the Nationals on Wednesday, but almost certainly will begin the year in the minor leagues. He'll likely be a corner outfielder for Triple-A Memphis in his bid to make it back to the majors as a position player after giving up pitching in 2005 due to wildness.

St. Louis doesn't plan to have him on the big league roster at the start of the season.

"It isn't because he isn't capable," La Russa said. "Unless you can guarantee that he would get 400-500 at-bats, it would be a bad move for him and for us."