ST. LOUIS (AP) _ Scott Rolen, who had been hoping to begin a rehab assignment on Monday, will stay in St. Louis the next three days to strengthen his surgically repaired left shoulder while the Cardinals begin a nine-game trip.

``I'm not ready,'' Rolen said. ``It's the right thing to do. It's realism.''

Rolen said Sunday both he and the team agreed it was too soon to resume playing in games because he has been unable to get full extension on his swing.

``I feel fine throwing and fielding,'' Rolen said. ``I'm probably just forcing it a little (at the plate). I'm probably not swinging as freely as I need to.''

If all goes well, Rolen would join the Cardinals on Thursday in Tampa Bay during an off day and then the next step in his comeback would be determined. This is not considered a setback since team doctors estimated he would miss four to six weeks with the injury.

``I was trying to convince everybody to push it up,'' Rolen said. ``I'm just not ready yet.''

Rolen was injured May 10 when he collided with Hee-Seop Choi of the Dodgers at first base, placed on the 15-day disabled list the next day and underwent arthroscopic surgery on May 12. He's batting .257 with five home runs and 20 RBIs in 30 at-bats.