As expected, St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Stephen Piscotty has rejoined the ballclub and is in the starting lineup tonight against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“It feels good to be back,” said Piscotty. “Needed to spend some time with my family, but we had a good weekend and it’s time to get back to work.”

Excused for the last five games, Piscotty chose to elaborate on the family matter which caused his absence.

“I’m not going to beat around the bush–the reason I went back was for my mom,” he began with some emotion. “Last Wednesday, she was diagnosed with ALS. So it was a time to get back and spend time with her. We actually watched all the games on the couch. She thought it would be a fun, weird idea to have me there watching so we did that. The whole family was able to come back and spend some time, kind of gather ourselves. My mom is very strong, so she’s going to battle and we’re going to be behind her. That’s why I was away.”

Stephen is the oldest of three sons to Gretchen and Michael Piscotty.

“It just really puts life in perspective,” he continued. “Definitely, when I got the news, it was a little tough to focus. Felt it was the right decision to go home–Mike was great about making that real easy. Our family is very thankful for that, especially my mom. It’s time to come back to work and get rolling. I’m excited to be back and get back in there.”

“It’s hard sometimes to get away from this,” said Mike Matheny. “You need that support and part of that support is the comfort that it’s all right to go. This is life and tough stuff, go home. It’s the right place for you to be. Our world revolves around winning for nine months of the year and you tend to lose sight–or at least kind of compartmentalize and put stuff off to the side on the back burner. I think that’s how most of the guys are wired. But when something like this comes up, that can’t happen. You’ve got to go deal with the tough stuff.”

“I know she enjoys watching me play, so I want to give her that,” said Piscotty, who again noted his mother’s strength. “Especially raising three boys, she’s a tough cookie.”