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02/28/11 5:50 PM EST

Wainwright surgery deemed a success

JUPITER, Fla. -- Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright underwent Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery on Monday in St. Louis, and the club deemed the operation a success.

Dr. George Paletta, the team's head physician, performed the procedure. Paletta has a lengthy and successful track record with the ligament replacement surgery. He performed the same operation on Cardinals pitchers Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia and Kyle McClellan, among many others.

The club announced during Monday's Spring Training game against the Marlins that, according to general manager John Mozeliak, "the surgery went very well." Wainwright is expected to remain in St. Louis for about two weeks before returning to Florida to join his teammates at camp.

Wainwright, 29, went 20-11 with a 2.42 ERA in 2010, striking out 213 against 56 walks in 230 1/3 innings. He finished second to Roy Halladay in balloting for the National League Cy Young Award.

The typical rehabilitation time for a starting pitcher who has Tommy John surgery is approximately 12-15 months.

Berkman bows with blast in Cards debut

JUPITER, Fla. -- Lance Berkman wasted no time making an impression with the Cardinals.

Berkman lined the second pitch he saw on Monday over the left-field fence, smacking a solo home run in his Spring Training debut with the Redbirds. He hit the dinger left-handed off Marlins right-hander Anibal Sanchez.

The switch-hitter followed that with a single in his second plate appearance before being pulled for pinch-runner Amaury Cazana. Berkman's second hit was a looper over the head of second baseman Joe Thurston into shallow right field.

"Spring is here today, gone tomorrow with the swing, but so far this spring I've felt pretty consistent and I feel like I have a good base," Berkman said. "A little bit more of a power base than I had last year. So I hope it continues."

Berkman, who turned 35 earlier this month, spent the first 11-plus seasons of his Major League career with the Astros before being traded to the Yankees last summer. This is his first spring with any club other than Houston.

Cardinals' first lineup offers some insight

JUPITER, Fla. -- Cardinals manager Tony La Russa wrote out his first lineup card of 2011 on Monday, and it gave a little insight as to what he may do once the games start counting.

La Russa slotted Skip Schumaker and Ryan Theriot atop his lineup, with Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday in their familiar No. 3 and 4 spots and Lance Berkman fifth. Colby Rasmus sat out, expected to start on Tuesday, making some of the decisions a bit easier.

When Rasmus sits, there's a good chance you'll see the two infielders atop the order. But La Russa sounds quite intrigued by the possibility of batting Rasmus in the No. 2 spot in the batting order, with either Schumaker or Theriot hitting near the bottom of the lineup.

"I just see [with] him hitting second, there's a lot of good things that happen," La Russa said. "With Lance fifth, the third baseman can hit sixth, the catcher seventh, there are a lot of good things that happen. All of a sudden, if you've got somebody else, then you've got him hitting sixth, with the third baseman seventh. It's going to be a fun lineup to mess around with."

La Russa seems quite committed to Berkman batting in the fifth spot for the time being.

Punto trying to be patient during recovery

JUPITER, Fla. -- Nick Punto rejoined his Cardinals teammates on Monday, pleased to have resolution for a problem that plagued him for nearly a year but frustrated that he won't be able to play for two months or more.

Punto underwent surgery on Thursday to repair what's commonly called a "sports hernia." He underwent the procedure in St. Louis, and on Monday, he was back at the team's Spring Training facility in Florida for the first time.

"I feel all right," Punto said. "A little sore. It's day four [since the operation], so I'm sure the soreness will be here for a few more days. But I'm all right."

Dating back as far as last April, Punto had dealt with discomfort in the area of his midsection, near his groin. He managed it with anti-inflammatory injections, but once the diagnosis of a sports hernia was made, he elected to undergo surgery.

"Last year, I managed it with the cortisone injection," Punto said. "It got me on the field. That's what, for me, it's about -- getting on the field and playing. I think the relief I got out of this was just the doctors looking out for my well-being. I probably could have tried to shoot it up with cortisone, but who knows, you get to July, and your season's over if you have to have surgery in July.

"As frustrating as it is, there's light at the end of the tunnel. It's always nice to see that light and have an answer. So I guess it's frustrating, but at least the end is in sight."

Freese progressing slowly but surely

JUPITER, Fla. -- David Freese will not start in a Grapefruit League game before at least Thursday, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said on Monday.

Freese, who is rehabilitating from surgery last year on both of his ankles, has participated in Spring Training workouts, but not to the same extent as his teammates. Freese pinch-hit in Monday's loss to the Marlins, but was under orders not to run hard, and if he had reached base, he would have been removed for a pinch-hitter. Freese flied out.

La Russa still expressed enthusiasm over Freese's progress.

"You can't watch him go through the drills and be disappointed," La Russa said. "I'm excited. I think we're all excited about what we see. He's excited about the way he feels."


Roger Dean Stadium held a moment of silence for Drew Baur prior to Monday's game. Baur, a central member of the Cardinals' ownership group, passed away on Feb. 20. ... Cardinals players and staff met with representatives for the Major League umpires on Monday morning in what manager Tony La Russa called a productive session. Typically, every team's coaching staff meets with the umpires during the spring, but this year, players participated as well. ... Cardinals single-game tickets go on sale on Friday at 10 a.m. CT. ... Colby Rasmus and Yadier Molina are scheduled to make their first starts of the spring on Tuesday against Florida. ... La Russa gave his hearty endorsement to the choice of Joe Torre as Major League Baseball's new executive vice president for baseball operations. ... An almost entirely rain-free camp could get its first interruption on Tuesday. The forecast calls for temperatures in the low 80s during the Cardinals' game against the Marlins, but there's a possibility of thunderstorms late in the afternoon.

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.