Take Five - with So Taguchi

The Cardinals finally sign St. Louis fan favorite, So Taguchi. Ray Mileur catches up with the Japanese Star after his signing was announced.

The St. Louis Cardinals finally re-signed outfielder So Taguchi to a one-year contract on Friday.

Taguchi was the final St. Louis Cardinal from the 2005 team to be re-signed. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but we believe it to be in the ballpark of $800,000 with potential incentives of around $250,000.

Taguchi hit .288 with eight home runs and 53 RBI in 143 games last season. He is competing for the starting left field job in spring training with Larry Bigbie and John Rodriguez.

Since coming over from Japan, Taguchi has hit .289 with 14 homers and 93 RBI in four seasons with the Cardinals.

I caught up with So Taguchi in spring training.

RM: "So, they finally got you signed!"

SO: "Yes, very good news, I am very happy to play in St. Louis"

RM: "So, we are happy to have you back in St. Louis as well. You are in camp this year competing for the starting job in left, is that how you understand it?"

SO: "It is my job as a ballplayer to do my very best to win the job in left field."

RM: "There are a couple of other guys you are competing against, do you think you'll end up get the starting role."

SO: "I will do my best, but I will also do what is best for the team, even if that means I play in a back up role, off the bench."

RM: "I would expect no matter what, you are going to see more playing time in left this season and even more time in center behind Edmonds."

SO: "Yes."

RM: "So, I think the fans in St. Louis love you because of the respect you show the game and the way you play it. Not only do they love you but they respect you."

SO: "I try to play the game the right way and I like the fans in St. Louis and playing in St. Louis."

RM "I'm going to let you go, I want to thank you for the time and good luck this season, we'll all be pulling for you.

SO "Thank you."

So Taguchi has been playing a lot in center field over the first couple of weeks of spring training with Jim Edmonds on the sideline with a bruised heel and strained calf muscle.

Taguchi has made a couple of Edmonds' type catches much to the delight of the fans.

After seven games this spring, So is hitting .292 and playing stellar defense in the field. Not bad.

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