PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The St. Louis Cardinals were awaiting results of an MRI on Juan Gonzalez's strained abdomen on Saturday.
The test was done on Friday and was being evaluated by a specialist, team spokesman Brian Bartow said.
The 38-year-old Gonzalez, trying to make a comeback after having just one at-bat in the last three years, missed his fifth straight game and did not make the trip Saturday for a game against the Mets. He had been listed as day-to-day two days earlier. Manager Tony La Russa said there had been no improvement.
"I do not think he was better this morning, and he's been resting and being treated," La Russa said after the Cardinals' 10-3 victory. "So that's not a good sign."
Gonzalez, a two-time AL MVP, is fast losing ground in competition for the fifth outfield spot to Rule 5 pickup Brian Barton due to his health. He felt a pull on his left side more than a week ago and has had difficulty running.
Gonzalez missed the last two seasons and had only one at-bat in 2005. He's hitting .308 in 26 at-bats with one home run and five RBI after signing a minor league contract with the Cardinals.
Earlier in the week he was noncommittal about his willingness to begin the season at Triple-A Memphis. La Russa also has wondered aloud about the wisdom of giving a roster spot to a player who might land on the 15-day disabled list.
Barton was batting .350 after going 2-for-4 with a triple and two RBI on Saturday. He would give the team a significant boost in speed, with three triples along with two home runs and eight RBIs in 40 spring at-bats.
"What he needs to do is he needs to do it for the next two weeks," La Russa said. "That's when the tests increase.
"It doesn't happen a lot but it has happened where a guy will do this the first two weeks and not the second two weeks, but he's certainly gotten everybody's attention."
Meanwhile, there were several developments on the injury-wracked pitching staff.
Kyle Lohse, signed to a one-year free agent contract on Friday, will throw a simulated game on Monday. If all goes well, Duncan said Lohse will make his first spring start next Saturday.