Mark McGwire was back on his feet yesterday.

McGwire returned to the Cardinals' lineup for a night game against the Cubs after being hospitalized 36 hours for treatment of a staph infection in his right leg.

"We got it in time," McGwire said. "If I didn't go to the hospital, they said it could've been really bad."

The infection started in a soft corn in his right foot and worked its way up to the lymph nodes near his right groin. McGwire had cut a hole in his shoe to alleviate pressure on the corn so he could play Friday, but was examined by the Cubs' medical staff after the game.

He missed Saturday's game and the Cardinals said McGwire was in his hotel, keeping his foot elevated. Actually, he was at the hospital watching the game on television and getting antibiotics intravenously every eight hours. He spent two nights at the hospital.

McGwire, who has played in 45 of the Cardinals' 47 games, said he will continue to take oral antibiotics.

BONILLA BACK: The Mets will activate OF Bobby Bonilla from the 15-day disabled list. He has been out since May 11 with a bruised left knee. To make room for Bonilla, the Mets will send LHP Rigo Beltran to Class AAA Norfolk.