The Redbird Report - 05/11

Although Juan Encarnacion -- out all spring as he continued to recover from offseason surgery on his left wrist -- is scheduled to end his medical-rehabilitation option this weekend and join the team in San Diego, newcomer Ryan Ludwick appears to be the regular right fielder, at least for now.

Ludwick drove in three runs in the recent three-game series with Colorado. "Every game, he's doing something for a club that's searching," manager Tony La Russa said. "He's fun to watch. He gives himself a chance because he swings." Ludwick drove in 21 runs in August for Cleveland in 2003, but his career was set back after that because of a knee injury that required two surgeries.

He bounced around for the next three years before getting a non-roster invitation to Cardinals camp this spring and hitting .400.

At Class AAA Memphis, he had eight homers and 36 RBIs before being brought up.

"I've got nothing to lose," said Ludwick, brother of Eric Ludwick, who pitched for the Cardinals in 1996-97.

"I've been here before and I got hurt, and I feel like this could be my last opportunity. You never know how many chances you're going to get. I'm just trying to take advantage of it."

Encarnacion is hitting .167 (8-for-48) at Class AA Springfield, though he has five hits in his last 15 at-bats.

NOTES AND QUOTES

--RHP Chris Carpenter, who had arthroscopic surgery Tuesday on his right elbow to deal with bone spurs, will begin rehabilitation shortly. "Once the swelling is gone, we can get to work," he said. Carpenter is expected to be out three months.

--The Cardinals completed a 4-2 homestand without hitting a home run. In 23 of their first 30 games, they scored three or fewer runs before getting four and nine in their last two. --3B Scott Rolen will return to the lineup Friday in San Diego in the midst of a 1-for-34 dive. Five of his 20 hits for the season came in one game, on April 22 in Chicago.

--LHP Chris Narveson, a prospect at Class AAA Memphis, had to leave the game with an apparently serious shoulder problem on Wednesday night at Salt Lake City.

--After installing LF Chris Duncan as the cleanup hitter for one game, manager Tony La Russa moved Duncan back to second Wednesday and will leave him there. "I didn't like the way it looked," said La Russa, after Duncan went hitless hitting fourth. "I didn't think it was going to be good for him or for us."


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