© 2010 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

07/21/10 1:34 AM ET

Cards' shortstop competition heating up

ST. LOUIS -- The battle for playing time at shortstop for the Cardinals between incumbent Brendan Ryan and rookie Tyler Greene will recommence soon. Greene has been out with a wrist injury that he suffered when he was struck with a ball on Saturday, but he says he should be ready in a few days to begin taking batting practice again.

According to manager Tony La Russa, Greene is available to field or pinch-run.

"It is frustrating to not be able to bat," Greene said.

"I am just trying to get the swelling an inflammation down. It has gotten better every day."

Ryan has scuffled at the plate for much of the season, and entered Tuesday hitting .103 with a .121 slugging percentage over his past 20 games. He has played better since the All-Star break, however, reaching base three times in three starts while driving in two runs. He popped out in his first at-bat, ending the second inning.

Greene began play on Tuesday with a .313 average, a .389 on-base percentage and a .500 slugging percentage since being called up July 2.

Ludwick homers in rehab appearance

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals outfielder Ryan Ludwick began a rehab stint at Triple-A Memphis on Tuesday, and he is expected to rejoin the Cardinals soon after, if the rehab is successful. Ludwick was placed on the disabled list on June 26 with a strained left calf.

The right fielder went through an extensive test, running the bases, hitting and playing the outfield on Monday before he was sent out. Ludwick said on Monday that he expects it will be two or three games, but manager Tony La Russa said he had "no idea" if Ludwick would be with the team for the upcoming road trip to Chicago.

Ludwick went 1-for-3 on Tuesday, belting a 2-run homer and striking out once. He started in right field and batted No. 3 in the order, playing all nine innings.

"He is not one of those guys who is going to go down there and half-step the games. He is really going to get himself ready," La Russa said. "That is the best kind of test there is."

The return of Ludwick could create a potential logjam in the outfield for playing time. Both Allen Craig and Jon Jay have performed well since being called up. Jay went hitless in a pinch-hitting appearance during Tuesday's 7-1 win over the Phillies, dropping his average to .367. Craig has racked up six RBIs in five games since he was recalled.

Ludwick was hitting .273 with a .337 on-base percentage and .485 slugging percentage before heading to the disabled list.

"I don't ever waste time speculating about how it is going to be," La Russa said of the club's outfield situation. "When he gets here, I hope it is real jammed."

Bad break doesn't deter Freese

ST. LOUIS -- Despite suffering a fractured big toe on Sunday, Cardinals third baseman David Freese does not believe he will need any more time for recovery than was already expected with a bone bruise in his ankle. Freese has been on the disabled list since June 28, when he hurt his right ankle while stepping awkwardly on third base. The fractured toe is on his left foot.

The third baseman suffered the injury after a 75-lb dumbbell fell off a rack onto his toe while working out Sunday. Though bruised and purple, Freese is still able to move the toe.

"It is not going to set me back too much, I can move it and stuff still," Freese said.

Although no firm date has been set for his return, Freese believes he will take the field before August 1.

"Soon. Next week I would say," Freese said.

Carpenter shines for 'Baby Birds

Triple-A Memphis suffered a rough game on Monday, falling, 7-2, to Omaha. Chuckie Fick was roughed up for seven runs in five innings pitched, raising his ERA this season to 5.82. Mark Hamilton and Ruben Gotay each collected a double. ... Matt Carpenter did his best Matt Holliday impression, blasting a two-run walk-off homer for Double-A Springfield in a 6-5 win over Tulsa. Carpenter went 2-for-3, stretching his hitting streak to seven games. Daryl Jones chipped in a homer, going 2-for-4. ... Sloppy defense doomed Class A Palm Beach and starting pitcher Richard Castillo. Castillo took the loss with six runs allowed, three earned, over four innings. D'Marcus Ingram continued his hot hitting ways going 2-for-5 with a double. ... Jorge Rondon starred for Class A Quad Cities, tossing five innings of one run ball in an eventual 2-1 win. Ryan Jackson went 3-for-4, extending his hitting streak to seven games

Worth noting

Cardinals outfielder Randy Winn earned the start Tuesday, giving the Cardinals all right-handed bats against Phillies southpaw Jamie Moyer. Winn is 10-for-25 in his career against Moyer, with half the hits going for extra-bases. ... Since the All-Star break, the Cardinals have struck out a Major League-low 15 times. Moyer is striking out 5.1 batters per nine innings this season. ... Kyle McClellan has not allowed a run at Busch Stadium in 19 games, a streak covering 24 1/3 innings.

Michael Bleach is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.