ST. LOUIS (AP) -Jim Edmonds is enjoying an offseason without surgery.
After the St. Louis Cardinals won the 2006 World Series, the four-time All-Star outfielder had operations on his right shoulder and left toe. He batted just .222 in April.
``I wasn't even close to healthy,'' he said.
He wound up batting .252 with 12 homers and 53 RBIs - his lowest totals since 1999 with the Angels. But heading into the final season of a $19 million, two-year contract, the 37-year-old expects much better production from himself next season.
``Everything is gone now and I'm feeling really good,'' he said Saturday night at the opening of F15teen, his new restaurant about a mile from Busch Stadium. ``I'm feeling the best I've felt in five or six years. I'm already working out and already running and doing some things that I need to do.''
A six-time Gold Glove winner who has topped 40 homers twice and reached 100 RBIs three times, Edmonds thinks that after playing in a combined 227 games the past two years, he'll be a more regular presence in the lineup of the Cardinals, who slumped to 78-84 and a third-place finish in the NL Central.
He was among the players who said in September that he wanted manager Tony La Russa to return for a 13th season.
``I knew he'd be back,'' Edmonds said.
He also thought promoting John Mozeliak to take over as general manager from Walt Jocketty was a good move.
``If it couldn't be Walt, it had to be Mo, because he was right behind Mr. Jocketty, and he's right in his footsteps,'' Edmonds said. ``It's time for him to get his due.''
Teammates who attended the opening of the upscale restaurant in a renovated warehouse also were enthusiastic about the Cardinals' chances for a rebound.
Outfielder Chris Duncan, the son of pitching coach Dave Duncan, had two reasons to be happy about La Russa's return. Dave Duncan has been La Russa's top aide for more than two decades. Both of Duncan's major league sons, Chris and Yankees outfielder Shelley Duncan, speculated that their father might have retired had La Russa not come back.
``I'm glad Tony came back because that means my dad's not going to go anywhere, plus he's one of the best managers ever,'' said Chris Duncan, recovering from a sports hernia. ``He's fun to play for and he wants to win and that's what's most important.''
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