Sanders' broken leg latest in long line of injuries for Cards

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals outfielder Reggie Sanders might miss a month or more because of a broken bone in his right leg.

Sanders was placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday, three days after he collided with center fielder Jim Edmonds as they chased a flyball. Tests Sunday showed that the 37-year-old left fielder has a hairline fracture of his right fibula that could keep him out four to six weeks.

''I feel like I played football for a couple of days,'' Sanders said. ''You look at all the dynamics and it's not what I wanted, but here it is.''

Sanders was second on the Cardinals with 18 home runs, third with 44 RBIs and first with 14 stolen bases in 15 attempts. He had been chasing his first career 30-30 season.

It is just the latest injury for the Cardinals, who are fortunate to have a double-digit lead in the NL Central.

''There's never a decent cushion,'' manager Tony La Russa said. ''You have one bad week, nobody's talking about a cushion.''

Catcher Yadier Molina already is on the DL, and third baseman Scott Rolen underwent strength tests Monday on his surgically repaired left shoulder. Rolen has played well defensively since returning in mid-June, but had been in a 1-for-26 slump before an RBI double off Roger Clemens in a 3-0 victory over Houston on Sunday.

''I think they kind of just wanted to make sure,'' Rolen said. ''Obviously I've struggled and had some pain, missed an All-Star game. I understand I had surgery and there's going to be a little grace period, but I had anticipated I would be full strength or getting close to full strength.''

Rolen was out of the lineup Monday because of pain and soreness associated with an arthrogram, in which dye was injected into the affected area. After the Cardinals' 11-4 victory over the Brewers on Monday, he said team doctors told him results of an MRI were ''fairly clear'' and plans on returning to the lineup on Tuesday.

''They said the MRI looked pretty good,'' Rolen said. ''That's good in one sense but in the other sense something's wrong, so it doesn't give you much closure.''

Dr. George Paletta, the team physician, said the MRI showed some tendinitis but that otherwise the location of the surgery ''looks great and nothing else looks structurally to be a problem.''

''At this point there's no point in putting him on the DL,'' Paletta said. ''The news today was about as good as it could have been.''

Molina hasn't played since breaking his left hand when hit by a pitch on July 7, and was placed on the disabled list retroactively Sunday.

Sanders didn't play after the collision with Edmonds in the first inning on Friday night. The injury occurred near where a plate and several screws were inserted in his ankle after an injury in 1989.

''Where the bone and plate meets is where his knee ran into me,'' Sanders said. ''That was like the most fragile area. It's just freaky how it all happened.''

Edmonds said he was shocked by the contact, and hadn't anticipated Sanders taking that angle at the ball. He said it was the first significant outfield collision of his career. Sanders caught the ball but never called for it, also puzzling Edmonds.

''I was starting to think about diving for it when he ran into me,'' Edmonds said.

St. Louis purchased the contract of left-handed hitting outfielder John Rodriguez from Triple-A Memphis. Rodriguez, 27, was batting .342 with 17 homers and 47 RBIs in 34 games at Memphis after being acquired from Cleveland in June.

La Russa had Rodriguez batting second Monday night and he went 1-for-5 with a nice running catch of Brady Clark's drive to the warning track with runners on second and third to end the second.

''He doesn't make that play, who knows how the inning goes,'' La Russa said.

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