Encarnacion has surgery on left wrist

Encarnacion has surgery on left wrist

ST. LOUIS -- Outfielder Juan Encarnacion underwent surgery on his left wrist last week, but the club does not expect the procedure to be a hindrance in Spring Training. Encarnacion had been bothered by soreness in the wrist during the latter part of the 2006 season and in the playoffs.

"It was just a small repair in the wrist," general manager Walt Jocketty said on Wednesday. "It was nothing substantial. It happened, I guess, last week, when we were in Florida [for the Winter Meetings]."

After a strong run through midseason, Encarnacion's power vanished in the final third of the year. He slugged .384 in August and .375 in September, then went 8-for-44 with two extra-base hits in the postseason.

It was initially hoped that his condition would heal simply with rest. However, as time went on, it became clear that a surgical procedure would be necessary.

"Apparently, it improved a little bit, but not enough where he felt comfortable," Jocketty said. "I think he felt that he wanted the surgery. We decided to do it last week so he would be ready for Spring Training. It was a very, very simple cleanup.

"I didn't get any indication at all from the doctors that there should be any concern whatsoever. There wasn't a real debilitating injury. It was something that was just bothering him a little bit. So they just went in there and cleaned something up."

Encarnacion received just eight at-bats in the World Series and did not record a base hit. Jocketty said that manager Tony La Russa has spoken with the outfielder since the season ended and that he did not consider any further fence-mending to be necessary.

Encarnacion will go into the 2007 regular season as the expected starter in right field, with Jim Edmonds and Chris Duncan making up the rest of the starting outfield unit. The Cardinals are considering, but not actively seeking, an additional outfielder, preferably one who hits right-handed.

Jayson Werth, who hails from Springfield, Ill., about 100 miles from St. Louis, is one name on the Cardinals' radar. Werth was non-tendered by the Dodgers on Tuesday after battling wrist problems of his own.

"That's a guy we're looking into," Jocketty said. "We're trying to find out more about his medical situation."

The Cardinals also removed an outfielder from their roster on Tuesday, but that doesn't mean they've given up on Rick Ankiel, whom they still hope to re-sign to a Minor League contract.

"I'm still hopeful that will get done," Jocketty said. "I talked to one of Scott [Boras'] associates last night, and they haven't been able to track Rick down. I don't know if he was on vacation or they just couldn't get him."

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.