Notes: Edmonds rejoins Cards lineup
Center fielder starts after being on the DL with back trouble
ATLANTA -- After 34 days on the disabled list, Jim Edmonds returned to the Cardinals lineup on Thursday night. His reward? Getting to face Braves star Tim Hudson.
Edmonds last played on June 15. He was sidelined with lower back trouble, but he's progressed well in recent days. Over the weekend in Philadelphia, he notified the club that he felt ready to play. At that point, the Cardinals began a conditioning program to ensure that the eight-time Gold Glover would be able to hold up to game action.
For the time being, Edmonds will probably not play every day. He'll be handled much as David Eckstein has been in his return from the DL, playing two or three days at a time and then getting a breather.
To make space for Edmonds, the Cardinals optioned pitcher Andy Cavazos to Triple-A Memphis, leaving them with 11 pitchers on the roster. Manager Tony La Russa said that will be a temporary arrangement.
"We're going to go day-to-day this weekend," La Russa said. "It's hard to go down a player not knowing when Scott [Rolen] is going to be available. ... But if we have a [taxing] game in the next day or two, we'll change it. My guess is that if we can get through the weekend, sometime during the homestand we'll go back to 12."
Rotation at home: The Cards' rotation is set through the remainder of their current road trip and into the off-day on Monday. Once the next homestand begins on Tuesday, however, things are a little dicier. La Russa said that the Cardinals are deciding between Mike Maroth and Kip Wells to start the Tuesday series opener against the Cubs. Adam Wainwright will face the Cubs on Wednesday and Braden Looper will pitch Thursday's game against Chicago.
From there things are less clear. Whichever pitcher starts on Tuesday will also go the following Sunday in the series finale against Milwaukee. But Friday's game and Saturday's doubleheader against Milwaukee are up in the air. The pitcher out of Wells and Maroth who does not start Tuesday will get one of those games, as likely will Brad Thompson.
That still leaves one game, though, which could go to Anthony Reyes. It could conceivably be a "bullpen game," or the Redbirds could choose to bring a pitcher back on short rest -- the latter being the least plausible option.
This date in Cardinals history: On July 19, 2006, the Cardinals beat the Braves, 8-3, at Busch Stadium, but the game wasn't the story. The first pitch was delayed more than two hours when a frightening, severe storm struck downtown St. Louis. The storm caused significant damage to the stadium, and 30 people were injured.
Baby 'Birds: Mike Parisi had a strange game, allowing three runs on six hits, striking out six but also walking six in six innings as Triple-A Memphis lost to Oklahoma, 5-2, on Wednesday. ... Double-A Springfield was held to three hits in a 6-1 loss to Tulsa. ... Brad Furnish held his own in his debut at Class A Palm Beach, but he took the loss in a 5-3 defeat against Lakeland. Furnish allowed four runs, three earned, on three hits over five innings. He struck out two and walked two. ... Tyler Herron was roughed up in Class A Quad Cities' 10-4 loss to Great Lakes. Herron allowed seven runs on six hits over five innings, through he did strike out nine.
Andrew Brown and William Groff homered for short-season Batavia, but the Muckdogs lost to Tri-City, 5-3. ... Beau Riportella homered twice for Rookie-level Johnson City in an 11-5 loss to Kingsport. ... Edgar Lara had a grand slam in the Gulf Coast League Cardinals' 9-8 loss to the GCL Dodgers.
Riportella is the player of the day after he hit the first and second homers of his professional career. Riportella, 19, was the Cardinals' 10th-round Draft pick last month out of the College of the Sequoias in California.
Coming up: Wainwright makes his first start against the team that drafted him. Wainwright will face Chuck James at Turner Field on Friday night, with first pitch set for 6:35 p.m. CT.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.