Source: Cards to test DeRosa’s wrist injury

The next several days will be crucial in determining whether Mark DeRosa will be able to contribute this year without requiring surgery on his injured wrist, a major league source said today.

The Cardinals acquired DeRosa from Cleveland on June 27, believing he would provide needed power in a lineup suffering from a lack of production aside from Albert Pujols. But he appeared in only three games, going 0-for-9, before tearing the tendon sheath in his left wrist.

DeRosa was placed on the disabled list and is now eligible to rejoin the active roster at any time. Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said Friday that DeRosa is considered “day to day” and will hopefully be activated by the end of the weekend.

The pain is likely to persist, on some level, for the foreseeable future. The question is whether DeRosa will be able to withstand it and produce as he did for the Indians (.270 batting average, 13 home runs and 50 RBIs in 71 games).

“He’s going to try to gut it out,” the source said.

The team received some encouraging news Thursday, when DeRosa was cleared by a team doctor to resume activity and completed a round of soft-toss swings. The source said DeRosa will “most likely” test the wrist against pitched balls today, before the Cardinals begin a home series against Arizona.

So, the team should quickly develop some notion of what to expect from DeRosa, who was expected to play mostly at third base. As a result, club officials should also know relatively quickly whether it will be necessary for them to add another hitter prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. St. Louis currently holds a two-game lead in the NL Central.

Regardless of how he fares over the remainder of the season, there is a chance DeRosa will undergo offseason wrist surgery, the source said. That would be a potentially significant event, since DeRosa, earning $5.5 million this year, will be a free agent at season’s end.

Troy Glaus, last year’s everyday third baseman, is another consideration. He has yet to play in the majors this season while recovering from the right shoulder surgery he had on Jan. 21.

Glaus has played four games on a rehabilitation assignment with Class A Palm Beach of the Florida State League. Thursday’s game marked the first time that he played in the field. But Glaus wasn’t at third base. He played first, apparently because the recovery from surgery continues to affect his throwing.

Last month, senior baseball writer Ken Rosenthal reported that Glaus was struggling to throw at distances of greater than 90 feet. If that doesn’t change, the Cardinals will probably attempt to trade Glaus, who is earning $11.25 million this season. The presence of Pujols at first base will prevent Glaus from having much value to the team there.