Cards hopeful Ankiel can return to mix

Cards hopeful Ankiel can return to mix

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals manager Tony La Russa is hopeful that outfielder Rick Ankiel will return from the disabled list for Wednesday's game against the rival Chicago Cubs.

Ankiel was injured in a scary collision with the outfield wall at Busch Stadium on May 4, and he was put on the disabled list two days later with a bruised right shoulder and overall body soreness.

Ankiel has been working out at the Cardinals' Spring Training complex in Jupiter, Fla., but he was expected to return to St. Louis either Tuesday evening or early Wednesday morning. After a workout at Busch Stadium on Wednesday afternoon, La Russa and the Cardinals will decide if Ankiel is ready to return against Cubs right-hander Ryan Dempster later that night.

"When he gets here, we're going to take a look at him," La Russa said prior to Tuesday's series opener. "We'll work him out and see how he feels, and make a judgment based on what we see. There's a chance he might play tomorrow."

Ankiel was hitting .247 with two home runs and 11 RBIs in 24 games before losing his balance after making a running catch and falling awkwardly into the wall. He laid motionless on the field for several minutes, but he never lost consciousness and was released from the hospital the next morning after all tests came back negative.

"He had a lot of places where he was sore," La Russa said. "We'll look at him and see how he feels."

Ankiel would be the second Cardinal to return Wednesday, as St. Louis will welcome back pitcher Chris Carpenter -- who will return from the disabled list to start against the Cubs. Carpenter has been out since April 14 with a strained left oblique muscle that he suffered while batting against the Arizona Diamondbacks in his second start of the year.

B.J. Rains is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.