By mid-January, Jim Edmonds had a pretty good idea that he wanted to make one last run at the Major Leagues after a full season away. Heck, he had just announced as much to a room full of Cardinals fans.
Just to be sure, Edmonds called on an old teammate to hit the batting cages in suburban St. Louis. It was about Day 3 of their early-morning swing sessions before Edmonds asked Albert Pujols what he thought.
“He said I was crazy not to try it,” Edmonds said.
Three months later, Edmonds is back in the Major Leagues with the Brewers. He signed a Minor League deal in late January, won a roster spot in Spring Training and has emerged as much more than an extra outfielder. Edmonds has started five of the Brewers’ first seven games including two weekend starts against Pujols and the Cardinals. He was back in center field on Monday against another former employer, the Cubs.
This isn’t exactly what Pujols had in mind when he encouraged his old teammate to launch a comeback.
“I hate to see him playing against us in the division,” Pujols said. “He’s always going to be a Cardinal forever.”
But Edmonds is a Brewer now, and he’s among the most veteran players in the game. In baseball, 39-year-old outfielders are rare, and only four position players older than Edmonds have appeared in the Majors so far this season: Forty-two-year-olds Omar Vizquel and Matt Stairs and 40-year-olds Brad Ausmus and Ken Griffey Jr.
Edmonds will turn 40 on June 27.
“That’s seasoned,” Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder said with a big smile. “To do what he’s doing, that’s a gift.”
For more on Edmonds’ comeback with the Brewers and a look back at some of his defensive gems, check out my story on Brewers.com later today.