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Ankiel unlikely to return to action Friday

Ankiel unlikely to return to action Friday

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals outfielder Rick Ankiel appears unlikely to come off the 15-day disabled list Friday as the organization had originally hoped for.

Ankiel, who was eligible to come off the DL on Wednesday, is still dealing with left oblique soreness he suffered along with a bruised right shoulder after a vicious collision with the outfield wall May 4. Ankiel took batting practice and worked out in the Busch Stadium outfield for the second consecutive day Thursday, but he was still deemed not ready to return to action.

"He still feels something in his rib," manager Tony La Russa said. "Yesterday he felt something, and today he still feels something. So now, I think tomorrow is doubtful unless all of a sudden he heals up."

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Ankiel had been working out at the Cardinals' Spring Training complex in Jupiter, Fla., but he returned to St. Louis on Wednesday. He could have remained in Florida for a few extra days, but the Cardinals wanted to see his final tests in person.

"It's better if we see him and talk to him," La Russa said. "He can work out here as much as he works down there. We can create at-bats for him when he's ready. I think it's a lot better if he's here."

Meanwhile, the Cardinals' other injured outfielder, Ryan Ludwick, continues to make solid progress. Ludwick ran close to full speed on the Busch Stadium outfield Thursday afternoon, and he will take batting practice on the field with his teammates prior to Friday's series opener with the Kansas City Royals.

Ludwick was placed on the 15-day disabled list May 13 with a strained right hamstring.

"Maybe a little tightness, but very minor," Ludwick said. "We're still not pushing it all the way because we do have eight days to work with still. I'm trying to do everything I can within my own power to heal. I've gotten off the caffeine, and I'm drinking as much water and Gatorade as possible and I'm getting as much protein in my body as possible to help this heal. It's coming along nicely.

"You can't put a timeframe on it, but as of right now, I feel pretty good."

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

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