Opening Day Third Baseman?

The Cardinals have invited major league veteran Scott Spiezio to spring training. Odds are very good he'll make the team and there is a chance he could start the season at third.

Scott Spiezio spent almost all of last season on the disable list with a strained oblique muscle or on the bench for the Seattle Mariners.

He asked for his release in August and got it. The infielder has accepted an invitation and will be joining the Cardinals for spring training and now he'll be trying to earn a job on the Cardinals' bench.

A switch-hitter, Spiezio has a good eye and knows the strike zone very well, enabling him to get good pitches to hit. He has flashes of power, 10 home runs in 2004 and 16 more in 2003. He has a little more pop in his bat from the left side and that could give him an edge up on his competition.

The 33 year old, 10 year major league veteran, started his career as a second baseman, but at this stage of his career, he's more suited to play the infield corners.

Defensively, he is an average third baseman but a better defender at first. He's likely to see significant playing time at third base during spring training and could get some starting time at third during the first month of the season.

Scott Rolen, the Cardinals regular third baseman, is coming back after missing most of last season with an injury to his shoulder and having to have surgery. Rolen is expected to be ready for spring training, but no one knows for sure how ready he will be until, he actually takes the field.

Spiezio has played more than 200 games each at first, second and third base in his big league career. He's a lifetime .253 hitter with a .324 on-base percentage and .414 slugging percentage.

Last season he struggled with his injury and lack of playing time, getting only 47 at-bats with the Mariners, hitting .064 with a home run.

If he can regain his stroke from his Angels' days, he could be solid backup at multiple infield positions for the Cardinals.

If Scott Rolen isn't ready to play when the Cardinals break camp, Spiezio could open the season at third base for St. Louis.

Scott is the son of Ed Spiezio, a third baseman who played for three major league teams (1964-1972), to include the St. Louis Cardinals.

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