St. Louis The All-Star break will last a week for Mark McGwire.
The major leagues' home run leader was sitting out the last two games before the break and skipping Tuesday's All-Star game in Atlanta to rest a sore right knee. McGwire, who has 30 homers and 69 RBIs, left after three innings Thursday because of pain in the knee.
McGwire, batting .303 with a major league-leading 75 walks, will stay in St. Louis for treatment during the break. He hopes to play next Thursday when the NL Central leaders start the second half at Chicago against the White Sox.
"My first concern is to try to do everything I can to get ready for Thursday, even though there's no guarantees I'll be ready for Thursday," McGwire said Saturday before the Cardinals played San Francisco. "But we've got to do something because we've got to stop what I'm feeling and get it better."
McGwire, 37, has been taking treatment for patella tendinitis since spring training, and the knee has worsened the last six to seven weeks. The knee bothered him only in the field before Thursday, when he said the knee was "on fire" as he ran to first base.
On the second at-bat, he said he was in pain just taking a pitch.
"All I was thinking about was my knee, instead of seeing the ball," McGwire said.
McGwire was voted in as a starter at first base for the eighth time, and it would have been his 12th appearance overall. He's not as disappointed about missing the game, considering he's 4-for-20 with a pair of singles and two RBIs, as he is about missing the home run derby on Monday.
"I haven't been too successful in the game, so the home run derby is probably the most fun about it," McGwire said. "I'll definitely miss that."
McGwire has undergone an array of treatment for the injury, including acupuncture.