La Russa: Edmonds may still be “hobbled”

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The Cardinals signed veteran outfielder Jim Edmonds to a minor league contract earlier this month and gave him an invitation to spring training.

He doesn’t have a guaranteed roster spot and will have to earn his way on to the big league roster with a strong showing in Grapefruit League games. It will be a difficult task, made even more difficult by the fact that he is still in recovery mode from surgery on his Achilles tendon.

According to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa admitted Sunday in spring camp that Edmonds is not quite ready.

“I know the last time I talked to him, he was hobbled,” said La Russa. “You’ve got to see when he’s available to show what he can do and then you start figuring. But the last time I heard, he still was not ready.”

Maybe Edmonds will be open to beginning the season in Triple-A Memphis or on the big league disabled list. The 40-year-old is sitting on 393 career home runs at the moment and hoping to eclipse 400 before filing retirement papers. If he’s healthy, the Cardinals will use him as a backup to Lance Berkman in right field. If he’s not healthy, Jon Jay should have a major league roster spot.

Henderson Alvarez signs with Tigres de Quintana Roo

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Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.

The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.

That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.