The right fielder underwent an operation on his wrist in December, but it was only within the past week that the cast was removed from the joint. He has not yet begun to swing a bat -- in fact, he has not begun any rehabilitation efforts.
"I'm going to start the rehab next week, so we'll go from there," he said. "I just got out of my cast. Just took it off three days ago. So I'm going to start on rehab now."
Encarnacion had initially hoped the condition would clear with rest. But it was eventually recommended that he undergo surgery. He battled pain throughout the second half of the 2006 season, and it became an even greater problem during the World Series. Encarnacion did not start after Game 2 against the Tigers.
"We tried to rest the wrist for a little bit, see how it reacts, but the doctor thought that it's better if I have the surgery because I had the torn ligament," he said. "He thinks it would have been the same for this year if I hadn't had the surgery."
And another year of the same would not have been good.
"It was affecting me a lot," he said. "That's one of the reasons that I didn't play the last few games. I talked to [manager Tony La Russa], and he said he needed somebody to be 100 percent. It's better than playing hurt. I said if you need me, I'll be in there. But it bothered me a lot, especially with the cold weather, it started getting worse."
Encarnacion also explained his much-discussed absence from the Cardinals' victory parade. He said he had to tend to a matter with his son in the Dominican Republic, so he departed immediately after the World Series.
"I had to go see my son," he said. "He had a little problem. I will do anything I can for my family."
Whither Weaver? General manager Walt Jocketty said Sunday that he's still in conversations with the representatives for free-agent starting pitcher Jeff Weaver, but that "a couple of hurdles" exist in the negotiations.
It was posited to Jocketty that those hurdles might be the length and dollar value of the contract. He didn't disagree.
"That's it," he said, adding that "those are two pretty big hurdles.
"I'm not sure, because it just depends on what his market is. It's like every other player we sign or attempt to sign. We have a certain value that we place on them, and if negotiations exceed that value, sometimes we'll go beyond it, but we're not at a point yet where I can determine that."
Kip Wells, Adam Wainwright and Anthony Reyes look set for the second through fourth spots behind Chris Carpenter in the Cardinals' rotation. In competition for a remaining spot will be Ryan Franklin, Brad Thompson, Braden Looper and Chris Narveson. Jocketty said that Narveson is in the mix, but would have to make a real impression to vault over the other competitors.
Edmonds update: Jocketty said that he expects center fielder Jim Edmonds to be ready by Opening Day. Edmonds is recovering from recent toe surgery, as well as a shoulder operation earlier in the offseason.
"He's progressing," the GM said. "I think Dr. [George] Paletta feels that the foot surgery, the rehab from that, will coincide with his shoulder surgery and it will work out good for Jim, because he'll be ready to play the last 10 days of Spring Training and then be ready for the season."
Mac's my man: Adam Kennedy ran into his old teammate, Mark McGwire, at a charitable function in Southern California on Friday. He said he chatted briefly with McGwire, and argued in favor of McGwire's Hall of Fame candidacy. McGwire received 23.5 percent of the votes in this year's election, less than one-third of the needed 75 percent majority for induction.
"Maybe just from playing with him or knowing the kind of person he is, you expect a little more respect for some of the good things he did," Kennedy said.
The two were among a long list of celebrity athletes at "Luck Be a Lady" Casino Night, which benefited the Child Abuse Prevention Center.
"He seemed to be in good spirits, and it was a good time," Kennedy said. "He enjoys living out there and the privacy he has. He seemed to be doing well. ... I knew he would be there. It wasn't a surprise to see him there. It was probably the first time I've talked to him in two or three years."
McGwire spoke briefly at the event with a reporter from the Daily Titan, the student newspaper at Cal State-Fullerton University.
"I had an absolutely wonderful career that I am very proud of," McGwire told the paper when asked about the Hall vote. "I'm not in control of what happens. I was in control of hitting the ball."
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less