ST. LOUIS (AP) -Jim Edmonds has stayed patient throughout his early slump, reminding himself that he got a late start in spring training.
The St. Louis Cardinals' center fielder was batting .233 with no RBIs in 30 at-bats entering Monday night's game against Pittsburgh. His swing has looked a lot better the last few games, though, and he was able to shrug off a couple of nice defensive plays that robbed him of hits against the Brewers on Sunday.
``I've played this game too long,'' Edmonds said. ``Given the circumstances of not having very many at-bats and what I'm going through, I just kind of shake it off.
``We won, that's what's important.''
Brewers right fielder Corey Hart made a diving catch on Edmonds' drive in the first inning and second baseman Rickie Weeks snared his smash up the middle in the third, turning it into a double-play ball. Edmonds ended up 0-for-4 with a walk, and manager Tony La Russa anticipated frustration.
``At the end of the day he got an 0-fer, but it wasn't really an 0-fer,'' La Russa said. ``It has a way of getting under your skin and you can come out of your game a little bit.''
The 36-year-old Edmonds underwent surgery on his right shoulder and left foot after helping the Cardinals win their first World Series title in 24 years, and didn't start playing in spring training until a week before opening day. He's coming off his worst season since coming to St. Louis in 2000 after being hampered much of the second half by post-concussion syndrome.
Edmonds batted .257 with 19 homers and 70 RBIs in 110 games.
``I was basically in a walking cast for six weeks, so I really don't have the muscle strength in my left leg that I need to keep my legs fresh,'' Edmonds said. ``I'm trying to build on that and play at the same time, and it's been a little difficult at times.
``But I'm happy to go out there and play every day.''
Edmonds said he feels better at the plate than in center field, noting that his upper body is catching up quicker than his lower body.
``I've surprised myself how I've been able to do the things that I've actually wanted to do,'' Edmonds said. ``There's been a couple of bad swings that haven't felt great, but there have been way more good swings than bad, so I'm happy with that.''

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