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Cardinals hold off on activating Ankiel

Cards hold off on activating Ankiel

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals made one anticipated move on Wednesday but held off on the other.

Chris Carpenter was activated from the 15-day disabled list in order to start the evening's game against the Cubs. Carpenter had been sidelined since sustaining a left oblique strain on April 14. To make room for him, Shane Robinson was optioned to Triple-A Memphis.

However, outfielder Rick Ankiel, also expected to be activated on Wednesday, will not rejoin the active roster until at least Friday. Ankiel is still recuperating from the injuries he sustained in a May 4 collision with the outfield wall at Busch Stadium.

"He was going to work out today and tomorrow, and then [we'll] look at him for the weekend," manager Tony La Russa said. "Possibly Friday. I think he'll play this weekend, but I'm not sure. We're just going to let him get in two good days of workouts and see how he feels."

Ankiel sustained numerous injuries in the crash. At the time, a right shoulder bruise was believed to be the most serious. Since then, however, a left oblique strain has represented the greatest hurdle. Ankiel said he still feels discomfort in the region when he swings a bat and misses. He has been rehabilitating at the Cardinals' Spring Training/Minor League complex in Jupiter, Fla., since shortly after he sustained the injuries.

"We needed to make sure and see how I felt," said Ankiel, who flew back from Florida on Tuesday evening.

La Russa expressed a concern that Ankiel's workouts in Florida did not represent any real simulation of Major League game-level intensity. Ankiel took early batting practice on the field at Busch Stadium on Wednesday and participated in other pregame workouts as well.

"It would be a mistake to play him in a game and find out, 'Oops, he's not right yet,'" La Russa said. "This will give him at least two good days of workouts, and we'll pick up the pace, and I think there's a chance Friday. If not, Saturday or Sunday. I think it makes sense to hold him out two days and hope for the weekend."

When he first returns, Ankiel is likely to play right field. He began the year as the Cardinals' primary center fielder. However, since he's been out, Colby Rasmus has played well in center, and the club believes that Ankiel might benefit from some time in right while he returns to full speed.

"That's one less issue, a little peace of mind there," La Russa said.

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

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