Middle of order hurting Cardinals

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Apparently, Ryan Ludwick and Rick Ankiel left their bats behind when they came off the 15-day disabled list.

The St. Louis Cardinals' offense has been horrid lately, and the heart of the order is largely to blame. Ludwick was 4 for 35 with one home run and two RBIs since returning from a hamstring injury on May 29. Ankiel was 6 for 37 with a homer and two RBIs since returning from a bruised right shoulder and overall body soreness related to a crash into the center field wall.

Neither player took a rehab assignment, not that manager Tony La Russa thought the results would be dramatically different. La Russa believes rehab assignments are a lot more important for pitchers.

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