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ST. LOUIS - Jim Edmonds, who started the season for the St. Louis Cardinals at less than full strength following two offseason operations, is getting a couple of weeks now to finally get his body healed.

The Cardinals are hoping a similar break will be productive for Braden Looper, a starting pitcher for the first time in his career and now hampered by a shoulder strain. Both players were placed on the 15-day disabled list on Monday, hours before a game against the Kansas City Royals.

Edmonds' injury was diagnosed as a pinched nerve in his lower back. He said the problems extend to the high hamstring area and after not being in the lineup Saturday and Sunday he approached the team, joking at first that he was not hurt.

"I've been playing hurt since opening day," Edmonds said. "Some days I was feeling decent. Some days, I was feeling really bad. Some of the days that were my worst were days you would never even know."

Edmonds underwent surgery to correct a hammer toe condition on his left foot, in addition to a cleanup procedure on his right shoulder. He's been hampered, especially running the bases and on defense, after perhaps accelerating his schedule in spring training in order to get ready for opening day.

"You can see sometimes when he tracks the ball and sometimes running the bases," manager Tony La Russa said. "It really isn't improving, so we just decided to give him a couple of weeks and just try to get him healthy rather than have this thing lingering."

Edmonds is batting .238 with seven home runs and 24 RBIs in 56 games. He was placed on the DL retroactive to June 16 after sitting the past two games.

"Basically, I went to them and said if I wasn't going to play every day like I haven't been, I might need to get this taken care of," Edmonds said. "I thought maybe now would be the time to try to get it healthy and take advantage of some of the days I've had off and some of the lefties coming up and the All-Star break, if need be."

Looper complained of shoulder stiffness after his last start on Friday. The right-hander, who entered the year with 572 career relief appearances and zero starts, is 6-6 with a 4.66 ERA in 14 appearances over 83 innings, nearly 10 more than he threw all last season.

After a medical exam on Monday, Looper was told the injury was minor.

"Hopefully I won't be out very long," he said. "I've dealt with stuff all year. But everybody does and it just kind of flared up on me. It's just getting that inflammation out of there and I should be fine."

Those two join pitchers Chris Carpenter (elbow) and Mark Mulder (shoulder), shortstop David Eckstein (back) and catcher Yadier Molina (broken wrist) on the DL.

Looper's injury is a reprieve for Kip Wells, 2-11 with a 6.93 ERA, but who stays in the rotation for now. Wells is scheduled to start Tuesday against the Royals. Brad Thompson, who threw two innings of relief on Saturday, will pitch on Wednesday.

The Cardinals recalled outfielder Skip Schumaker and left-handed reliever Troy Cate from Triple-A Memphis, both making their second stint with the team this season. Schumaker is batting .314 with five homers and 14 RBIs in 30 games at Memphis, and Cate is 1-5 with a 5.40 ERA.

Cate appeared in three games at Memphis after being optioned June 3, including two starts, and lost both of them. La Russa said Cate will be used in relief.


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