La Russa believes back injury will keep Eckstein on DL for minimum time

OAKLAND, Calif. -- St. Louis shortstop David Eckstein was
placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with a lower back
strain, and the Cardinals called up Brendan Ryan from Triple-A
Memphis to start in his place.

David Eckstein


St. Louis Cardinals


Eckstein left Wednesday's game at Kansas City with tightness in
his lower back and sat out Thursday against the Royals and again in
Friday's series opener with Oakland. The move is
retroactive to June 14, and Cardinals manager Tony La Russa believes Eckstein will be
back in the minimum time.

"We are really encouraged," La Russa said. "He's feeling
better, but he's got enough bumps and bruises that if we don't give
him an extended period, he's going to have a lot of lingering

St. Louis also brought up right-hander Anthony Reyes and
optioned righty reliever Kelvin Jimenez to Memphis. Reyes -- who won
the World Series opener for the Cardinals last fall but has lost 10
straight regular-season decisions and was demoted to the minors -- is scheduled to start Sunday against the Athletics in place of Brad Thompson, who will be available out of the bullpen.

Reyes found out around midnight Saturday morning he was being
called up. Memphis was playing in Iowa and he got about an hour of
sleep before flying to the Bay Area. Reyes said he talked about
pitching with new reliever Troy Percival, who signed a minor league
deal with the Cardinals on June 8 and reported to Memphis.

"It's different pitching down there than it is up here," Reyes

Eckstein, who also was bothered by tightness in his lower back
late last month, is not expected to need a rehab assignment before
rejoining the Cardinals.

"He's experienced enough that when he gets closer, in a week or
10-to-12 days, he will have an extensive workout and be ready," La
Russa said.

Eckstein is hitting .313 with two homers and 12 RBIs in 192

Braden Looper remained a question mark to make his next
scheduled start Wednesday, though the team probably won't know more
about his status until he is seen by a team doctor once back home.
He started Friday's 14-3 loss, but had to leave with tightness in
his right shoulder in the fifth.