Cardinals' McGwire on Disabled List

Thursday July 13 11:00 PM ET

ST. LOUIS (Reuters) - A sore right knee kept St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Mark McGwire from going to the All-Star Game. Now it has landed the record-breaking slugger on the disabled list.

McGwire was placed on the 15-day DL Thursday, retroactive to Friday, with right knee tendinitis. He already has missed three games and is not eligible to return until July 22.

His roster spot was filled by infielder-outfielder Eduardo Perez, who was activated after spending nearly three weeks on the disabled list with a right hamstring injury.

McGwire, 36, is having another stellar offensive season. He leads the majors with 30 home runs and is 11th in the National League with 69 RBI in 70 games.

Unlike his first 2 1/2 years in St. Louis, however, the Cardinals are keeping pace. They entered tonight's interleague game against the Chicago White Sox with an eight-game lead over second-place Cincinnati in the National League Central.

McGwire finally has some potent company in the Cards' lineup in fellow All-Stars Jim Edmonds and Edgar Renteria, outfielder Ray Lankford and recently activated third baseman Fernando Tatis. St. Louis established a team record with 149 home runs before the All-Star break, two short of the major league mark set by the 1999 Seattle Mariners.

For two years, McGwire was the drawing card at Busch Stadium. He hit a record-breaking 70 home runs in 1998 and came close last year with 65 to go with 147 RBI and a .278 average.

McGwire already has passed Hall of Famers Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Mantle and Mike Schmidt this year and is eighth on the all-time homer list with 552. Fourteen of the 15 players with at least 500 home runs are enshrined in the Hall of Fame. The lone exception is Eddie Murray, who becomes eligible for induction in 2003.

Voted to last year's All-Century team, McGwire was acquired from the Oakland Athletics at the July 1997 trade deadline. He later signed a three-year contract with St. Louis. He is being paid $9 million this year and already has agreed to an $11 million option for next season.

Perez, 30, is the son of Hall of Famer Tony Perez. He doubled in his lone at-bat for the Cardinals this year but has spent most of the season at Class AAA Memphis, where he batted .288 with 16 homers and 55 RBI.

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