JUPITER, Fla. -- Jim Edmonds' status remains an unknown for the Cardinals, five days before infielders and outfielders are scheduled to report to Roger Dean Stadium for Spring Training.

Edmonds, who recently agreed to a Minor League contract with St. Louis, is recuperating from surgery on his left Achilles' tendon. He has yet to undergo a physical for the club, and until he does, his situation remains a question for the Redbirds.

"I think it's coming down to just the health," manager Tony La Russa said on Sunday. "He had the surgery. I haven't talked to him in the last few days, but I know that the last time I talked to him, he was hobbled. ... I think it's health-driven, at this point."

Edmonds will try to make the Cardinals as a non-roster invitee to Spring Training. But if he isn't healthy, it would obviously compromise his chances of making the team. Asked if there might be a middle ground for Edmonds, such as staying in Florida to rehab after the season starts or going to extended Spring Training, La Russa said even that much was unclear to him.

"I don't know," he said. "I think you've just got to see when he's available to show what he can do. And then you start figuring. The last time I heard, he was still not [fully healthy]."

Laird opts for chance to learn in St. Louis

JUPITER, Fla. -- Gerald Laird entered the offseason knowing that he probably would have to settle for a backup job somewhere. So, the former Tiger and Ranger figured, why not be a backup with a chance to win?

Laird, 31, has caught more than 80 games in each of the past four seasons. But in 2010, he suffered his worst year at the plate, batting .207 with a .263 on-base percentage and a .304 slugging percentage. As a result, he knew that when he hit the free-agent market, he'd likely be playing quite a bit less. So when the Cardinals called, he figured it was an excellent opportunity -- even if it meant backing up the seemingly tireless Yadier Molina.

"We did some things in Detroit. But I look at this team and we've got a lot of good players, a great pitching staff," Laird said. "I kind of figured, after last year was a disappointing year for me, I was going to have to take a cut in playing time. If I had to do that, why not go to a team that has a chance to win, and try to get better? See if I could work with a good pitching coach -- and obviously having Yadi here, I'll be able to watch him a lot. Take some things from him, and listen to Dave [Duncan], and try to come in and have a good year."

Laird may yet get to play a little bit more than his predecessors have. The Cardinals have acknowledged that Molina might benefit from a few extra days off as the season goes along -- though that's easy to say in February, and tougher to implement in July.

"I haven't really talked about that. But when you've got a guy like Yadier, who likes to play and is definitely a great player, I know he's going to do the bulk of the catching," Laird said. "But I'm just here to do what I can, and try to get the trust of the coaching staff to where, when I play, they know they're getting a quality guy."

Tidbits

Manager Tony La Russa downplayed his newfound status as the longest-tenured head coach or manager in major American professional sports. "I don't know how to answer that," La Russa said when the topic was raised. "You hang around because you're fortunate. Great organization. Great players." ... La Russa reiterated that the Cardinals will emphasize baserunning more this spring than in past years. ... The manager said that he may use Twitter more this year as a means of bringing attention to his Animal Rescue Foundation. He said he has no particular problem with players tweeting, such as closer Ryan Franklin, as long as they keep in-house matters private. "I don't care as long as they maintain our criteria that we have a family here," he said. "If they want to tweet something that's counter to our family, then I would care."