Notes: Walker travels with Cards to SD

Notes: Walker travels with Cards to SD

SAN DIEGO -- A familiar face has joined the Cardinals clubhouse for their three-city trip. Larry Walker won't be taking the field, but he will be lending a hand and some personality for his old team while it's in California and Detroit.

Walker will serve in much the same capacity he did in Spring Training -- batting-practice pitcher, extra set of eyes and generally fun guy to have around.

"I'm going to throw some BP today," he said. "Just whatever, anything they want. It's nice to just come hang out and be around. Make some people laugh, try not to [annoy] anybody."

Walker played with the Cardinals in 2004 and 2005. He has spent the past several weeks at his home in Florida. He has expressed a desire to serve as a coach at some point, but for now he's enjoying the part-time gig.

"We asked him to join us, and he was probably glad to get away from the house," said manager Tony La Russa. "So it's just his timing. He said he got a pass this weekend. Asked for the whole trip. He's invited to come whenever he wants to. There's no thing about this particular time. It's just the way it turned out was OK for him."

Turning back the clock: The Cardinals participated in "'70s Night" at PETCO Park, donning uniforms that were a replica of the team's look from 1970-75. The Padres wore the bright yellow getup that was the team's look in 1972 and '73.

The Cards' uniforms were light gray with red numbers, but featured red-white-and-blue piping, real stirrups rather than colored socks, red caps and a white outline around the logo on the front of the jersey.

Encarnacion update: Juan Encarnacion is expected to make his way to California on Saturday, and should be with the team on Saturday or Sunday. Encarnacion went 0-for-1 with two walks for Double-A Springfield on Thursday, the 14th game of his Minor League rehabilitation assignment. He played again on Friday night, likely his last game for Springfield. Entering Friday, the outfielder was 8-for-53 (.151) in the Minors.

Asked if it's a certainty that Encarnacion is physically ready to play, La Russa said that it is not.

"I think there's a [question until] I talk to him," he said. "I'm not going to be completely satisfied until I hear from him."

Welcome home: For a number of Cardinals players, the week-long trip to Southern California represents a homecoming. Among the players visiting family, staying at home or having family come to the park to watch them this week are Jim Edmonds, Anthony Reyes and Randy Flores. Five current Cardinals were born in Southern California.

TV time: La Russa spent much of the day Thursday shooting a public service announcement advocating spaying and neutering of pets. The shot took place in Los Angeles, and La Russa said it will be broadcast nationally. It was a joint project of the manager's Animal Rescue Foundation and the ASPCA.

"It took a long time to get it done in English and Spanish," La Russa said.

This date in Cardinals history: On May 11, 1958, the Cardinals swept a doubleheader against the Cubs, and they rallied from behind in the bottom of the ninth in both games. In the 8-7 opener, Del Ennis and Irv Noren hit back-to-back RBI singles for the winning runs. The Cards won the second game, 6-5, when Hobie Landrith hit a bases-loaded single. Landrith picked up two RBIs, and the game-winning run crossed the plate on an error by Bobby Thomson -- yes, that Bobby Thomson. Thanks to Project Retrosheet for the information.

Baby 'Birds: Rick Ankiel hit his ninth home run, but Mike Parisi was knocked around (10 runs, 12 hits in 4 2/3 innings) in Triple-A Memphis' 11-3 loss to Salt Lake on Thursday. ... Rain delayed Springfield's game against Wichita and washed out a scheduled second game. Starter Eric Haberer faced only one batter before the rain started, and he did not return to the game. Juan Lucena had two hits in a 6-1 loss. ... Ian Church went 3-for-4 with a triple in Class A Palm Beach's 5-3 loss to Dunedin. ... Brandon Buckman fell a single short of the cycle, but Class A Quad Cities lost to Lansing, 7-5.

Buckman is the player of the day again. He doubled, tripled and homered in four at-bats, scoring twice and driving in three runs as his average climbed to .344 on the year. The 23-year-old University of Nebraska product is slugging .656 with nine home runs in his first taste of full-season ball.

Coming up: Braden Looper aims to become the Cardinals' first five-game winner when he takes the mound at PETCO Park on Saturday night. Looper will face the very tough right-hander Chris Young in a game that starts at 9:05 p.m. CT.

Matthew Leach is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.