"He had a little bit of relief the past day or two, but he's in a lot of pain," Cards manager Tony La Russa said before to Friday's game against the Phillies. "He's dealt with a lot of pain and he's played a lot when he hasn't been right. He's caught a lot of [unnecessary heat] from people. It's not my favorite subject."
By the middle of the 2007 season, Duncan was one of the better power hitters in the Cardinals' lineup. Over 1 1/2 years, Duncan belted 42 home runs and was viewed as one of the future mainstays in the batting order.
But a herniated disk in his lower back slowed him down before he underwent season-ending surgery. Now, he faces the same ordeal nearly a year later.
"Before the game yesterday, it was tolerable," Duncan said on July 22. "And then after the game last night, when I woke up this morning, I couldn't move. It bothered me yesterday, and then it got worse over night."
Duncan began the year at a glacial pace, struggling with the club before he was optioned to Triple-A Memphis on May 29. In his remaining 24 games before he was optioned, Duncan batted .222 with two home runs.
His stay in Memphis lasted only a week, however, as the Cardinals recalled Duncan when Albert Pujols hit the DL.
Lately, Duncan seemed to have improved from the plate, hitting .304 in his final 15 games before going on the DL due to his neck. He received a cortisone shot, but apparently it was not effective.
Lee Hurwitz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.