JUPITER, Fla. (AP) -Juan Gonzalez missed his seventh straight spring training game Monday and is losing ground in his effort to win a spot on the St. Louis Cardinals.
Gonzalez underwent an MRI exam Friday for an abdominal injury and was waiting for it to be read by a specialist. The 38-year-old slugger, attempting a comeback after getting only one at-bat the previous three seasons, said he was told by team doctors that the injury is not serious.
``The doctors say there's no hernia, that it's just the muscle,'' Gonzalez told The Associated Press on Monday. ``I'll keep taking treatment and when I'm fine, I'll go out there.''
He said the injury was improving, but very slowly.
``When I feel good I'll be out there,'' he said. ``I hope it's as soon as possible. Right now, no running, but I'm taking swings.''
Gonzalez got some at-bats during a simulated game and winced on occasion when he had to reach for a pitch. He always headed for the dugout after taking just a few steps out of the batter's box. He said he had seven at-bats against minor leaguers on Sunday and planned to repeat that routine on Monday.
The two-time AL MVP is battling Rule 5 draft pickup Brian Barton for the fifth outfield job with the Cardinals. The speedy Barton was batting .349 with two homers, three triples and eight RBIs.

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