Stephen Piscotty returned to the Cardinals' lineup Wednesday night and had two hits in three at-bats. (Bill Greenblatt/UPI) 

By Rob Rains

Stephen Piscotty left the Cardinals and returned to his home in California last Friday because it was where he needed to be and was the right thing to do.

On Wednesday, he was back playing right field for the Cardinals, because that was where he wanted and needed to be.

Piscotty revealed before Wednesday night’s game that his mother, Gretchen, was diagnosed with ALS last week. Manager Mike Matheny and others in the organization encouraged Piscotty to go home and ne with his family for a few days.

“I felt it was the right decision to go home,” Piscotty said. “It’s time to come back to work and get rolling. I’m excited to get back in there.”

Piscotty missed three games over the weekend in Colorado and the first two games of the series against the Dodgers – at least from the standpoint of actually playing in the games.

“We watched all the games on the couch,” he said. “It was a fun, weird idea. … She wanted to watch the games with me, and it made me want to get back out there. I know she enjoys watching me play.

“We had a good weekend. The whole family was able to get back.”

Piscotty’s mom was no doubt watching Wednesday night as well as her son went 2-for-3 in his return to the lineup, hitting a ground-rule double in the fourth inning and getting a single in the seventh.

Piscotty said it was tough to focus on baseball once he got the news about his mother’s illness. He is the oldest of three boys, and actually still spent the off-season living in the same house where he grew up with his parents.

“It really puts life in perspective,” he said.

Matheny said the Cardinals would be totally supportive of Piscotty and admitted he told him that he needed to leave the team and be with his family.

“Understand that this is bigger than this game,” Matheny said he told Piscotty. “Here’s what I think your options are: You tell me what would be best for you for your mom and for the rest of your family. He did the right thing.

“It’s hard sometimes to get away from this. This is life. Real life doesn’t pause for the baseball season.”

Piscotty admits he doesn’t know all that his mother will face as she begins treatment for the disease but one thing he does know is that she will battle.

“She raised three boys,” he said. “She’s a tough cookie.”