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Edmonds takes big step to playing in opener

JUPITER, Fla. -- St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Jim Edmonds took a big leap toward being ready for Opening Night, playing
in his first spring training game Sunday.

Edmonds hit second in the batting order, drawing a walk and
grounding out in a 6-5 loss to Baltimore. He was replaced in the
top of the fourth inning by Skip Schumaker.

An eight-time Gold Glove winner, Edmonds has spent the spring
recovering from offseason shoulder and toe surgeries.

"It was an easy day," Edmonds said. "Didn't have to run too
much, didn't take too many bad swings."

The Cardinals hope Edmonds will be ready for the April 1 opener
at home against the New York Mets.

"We don't know what to expect," St. Louis manager Tony La
Russa said. "You work out and you're under control. He may make
one break today and his toe would be sore and that's the end of it.
Who knows?"

La Russa also released the order of the Cardinals starting
rotation. As expected, Chris Carpenter will be the Opening Night
starter, and Kip Wells and Braden Looper will follow against the
Mets. After Carpenter opens the series at Houston on April 6,
Adam Wainwright and Anthony Reyes will take the mound.

The success of the Cardinals starters this spring has been a
bonus for La Russa, who said he had considered downsizing the
number of players in the team's rotation to four.

"Because of how well these guys have gone about everything
we'll be pitching five guys," La Russa said.