JUPITER, Fla. -- Troy Glaus, it turns out, was just as surprised as everyone else when he found out that he would need surgery on his right shoulder last month.

Glaus underwent arthroscopic surgery for the cleaning out, or debridement, of the labrum and rotator cuff in his right shoulder on Jan. 21. The procedure was a response to discomfort he had felt in the joint dating back to late in the 2008 season. He reported to Spring Training on Tuesday and made his first public comments since the surgery.

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"It started at the end of last season," Glaus said. "We said we'll just rest it and see what happens. We rested it, I started to get into my workouts, and it was OK at the beginning. Then I started ramping up my workouts a little bit, and it was back. I had an MRI [exam], but the whole thing was that the MRIs kept coming back clean. Nobody was seeing anything on the MRIs.

"So they said, 'OK, we'll do a rehab thing for five weeks or so.' We did that, and there still was some pain. They took another MRI, and it was still clean. And then they put a cortisone injection, and I got on some prednisone -- anti-inflammatory stuff for 10 days -- and it was still sore. That's where we got to [January]."

A timetable for Glaus' return remains uncertain. The club estimated his recovery time at 12 weeks when he had the operation, which would have him back on the field in mid-April. However, he has not yet begun any kind of baseball activities, so it's simply not possible to know how the rest of the rehabilitation will go.

"It's very vague," Glaus said. "I want to be back as soon as I possibly can. But I don't want to hurt something else by not being ready, [and I don't want to go] out there and not be legitimately ready to compete. So whenever that day is, we'll get ready to go. We'll go play and we'll do that. Hopefully that's sooner than later. But I can't sit here today and say that's going to be in four weeks, six weeks, eight weeks, whatever."

In the meantime, the Cardinals will look at several candidates to take the bulk of the at-bats in Glaus' absence. Prospect David Freese has the upper hand after a fine two-way season at Triple-A Memphis in 2008.

"[Freese] made kind of a remarkable jump from Class A to Triple-A," manager Tony La Russa said. "That's a big jump. I talked to [Memphis manager] Chris Maloney a lot about him, and defensively he really played well. He ended up hitting .300 with some power numbers. That's very impressive. So I'm anxious to see him."

One player who does not appear to have much of a shot at cracking the Opening Day roster in Glaus' absence is Brett Wallace. The 2008 first-round Draft pick will get a look, but barring something surprising, it won't be the kind of long look that Freese gets.

"He'll get some playing time," La Russa said. "It's hard to decide how much. To me, a guy like Wallace, he's going to come in, he's going to get a head start on his season as far as preparation. He's going to get a really good camp. And the at-bats you give him, I don't think he'll get enough at-bats to where it will be that important. ... The big thing is that he get a really good teaching spring and get set up for the Minor League season."