Edmonds to return?
Maybe Jim Edmonds was dead serious. Maybe it was all an elaborate put-on. When it comes to Edmonds and Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, it can be tough to tell. This much is certain: Edmonds said on Sunday night that he wants to come back and play for the Cardinals in 2010.
The long-time Angels and Cards star hasn’t played since 2008. Before that year, St. Louis traded him to San Diego. After the Padres released him, he signed on with the Cubs, with whom he played his last game on Sept. 26, 2008.
On Sunday night at the annual “Stars to the Rescue” benefit for La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation, Edmonds said he was “challenging” La Russa to let him rejoin his old team.
The exchange started after the final bows for the event, which featured country star Dierks Bentley and comedienne Kathleen Madigan, among others. La Russa said that “someone” had sent him a text and wanted to come onstage. That someone turned out to be Edmonds, who made his way from his seat at the opposite end of the arena.
Edmonds took the microphone with a grin and addressed the crowd.
“I’m challenging him to let me come back and play for the Cardinals
again for free,” Edmonds said to the crowd at Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis.
Edmonds then modified his offer to playing for the league minimum, rather than for free. He and La Russa engaged in some playful banter, and at the end, La Russa quipped that he wished he had a rewind button so that he could simply skip Edmonds appearance — but he said it with a grin.
The Cardinals could use a backup center fielder as well as a left-handed bat off the bench, and there have been rumblings that Edmonds might be interested in a return to the game. Still, it’s a long way from that sort of speculation to a return after missing a full year.
La Russa and Edmonds have what can fairly be called a complicated relationship. They didn’t always get along when Edmonds played in St. Louis, but their mutual fondness was always obvious. La Russa chastised Edmonds for what he believed to be dismissive comments about St. Louis after Edmonds joined the Cubs, and the criticism seemed to sting Edmonds at the time.
On stage on Sunday, though, Edmonds referred to La Russa as like a father figure to him, and the warmth in their relationship, rather than any strain, dominated the scene.
Neither La Russa nor general manager John Mozeliak could be reached for comment after the event ended.