The Cardinals remain concerned about the health of center fielder Jim Edmonds, although an abdominal specialist, Dr. Michael Brunt, for the moment at least, ruled out a sports hernia after examining Edmonds. For now, Edmonds' ailment is called a lower abdominal strain, and it will force him onto the disabled list Friday. He hasn't played since May 26, although he pinch-hit Sunday.
Dr. George Paletta of the Cardinals' medical staff said, "If you talk to guys who have had this done or been diagnosed with this, sometimes it can (await) diagnosis for months or up to a year. The diagnosis can be tricky. Then, the decision can be tricky. Both diagnosis and treatment can be a little bit vexing."
Officially, Edmonds is listed as "day-to-day." So Taguchi will see the most time in center field, with Juan Encarnacion, who made his first Cardinals start in center on Wednesday, and even Larry Bigbie taking turns.
Taguchi said, "I can't be Jimmy. I can't hit home runs like him. I can't make the same catches. But I can go out there and play my best."
Edmonds is hitting .241 with five homers and 29 RBIs.
--The Cardinals have won all nine of their series contested at new Busch Stadium. Overall, they are 20-8 at home.
--RHP Chris Carpenter (bursitis) is expected to return to the rotation against Cincinnati next week, meaning RHP Anthony Reyes, impressive in two spot starts, probably will go back to the minors again.
--Cardinals relievers have allowed 30 of 64 inherited runners to score, a very high 47 percent.
This contrasts to the 82 percent rate of saves for the bullpen.
"Our bullpen has done a very good job in a lot of ways," manager Tony La Russa said. "But that's one area -- coming in with trouble on base -- where we need to make better pitches.
"That's one place we can improve. It's getting a lot of attention. I expect it will improve."
--1B Albert Pujols has nine more home runs than strikeouts (25-16) and nine more RBIs than hits (65-56). He also has 18 more homers than doubles (7).
--The Cardinals are seeking to go above 15 games over .500 when RHP Sidney Ponson, unbeaten in four decisions, opposes the Cubs on Friday night.
--3B Scott Rolen has 10 RBIs in his last 13 games.