February 11, 2009

A month ago, Cards had an infield, now...

... there's one returning player: Albert Pujols playing first base.

The Cards have a brand new shortstop: Khalil Greene. We haven't talked much about Greene except to hope he as a comeback season. We're confident.

The hot stove discussion, as slow as it was this winter, usually centered around the closer, LOOGYs, and the 5th stater.

Then Felipe Lopez was left to fly, only to be followed by Aaron Miles. And when the Cardinals' ownership cried poor one day, then released Adam Kennedy the next, about a half-dozen prospects suddenly realized they had a legitimate shot at securing the starting second baseman's role for the parent club.

Just like that, the OK Corral is crowded with gunslingers whose average throw is about 50 feet, a Little Leaguer's dream job. Brendan Ryan, Joe Thurston, Skip Schumaker, Tyler Greene, Brian Barden, and Jarrett Hoffpauir all have a shot.

(The Cards might consider that Pujols can range over, thus, permitting Tony La Russa to make use of all those outfielders, perhaps playing two centerfielders, one in each alley. Problem solved.)

With all the attention over at the minor league logjam at second base, however, maybe we've forgotten about who will play third base for about a month into season as Troy Glaus recovers from surgery.

Tossed about for third base were the names: Ryan, Barden, David Freese, and Brett Wallace.

The overlapping names of Ryan and Barden may give us some indication of who has a better chance at making the go-north squad, as the Cards will not only be selecting a second baseman and third baseman, but a utility infielder as well.

And please, don't do it to me ... no ... don't say Skip is going to be the utility infielder-outfielder. And just when I had him pegged to play left-center-alley-fielder while Rick Ankiel plays right-center-alley-fielder.

Okay, so we start out on a mission to figure out the infield options and end up with a headache.

Wouldn't it be easier if TLR ordered the youth league thing where every out, the defense rotates one position?

Oh, wait a minute, I think TLR did that last season.

I don't mean to wax sarcastic, because when you think about it, all this six second baseman, half-a-dozen of the other, is going to make for one fun and interesting Spring Training.

photos by Barbara Moore