Is Bigbie the Answer in Left?

The Cardinals sent reliever Ray King to Colorado for outfielder Larry Bigbie and second baseman Aaron Miles during the off-season. Bigbie was expected to step in and be the everyday left fielder. More than six months later, the question still remains, is Bigbie the Cards answer in left.

St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Larry Bigbie will join the Swing of Quad Cities (Low-A) and play six games with team while on a major league rehab assignment, the Swing of the Quad Cities announced on Wednesday.

Bigbie is expected to begin his stint with Quad Cities as a designated hitter before moving into the outfield, and is expected to be hitting seventh in the lineup for Wednesday night's 7:00 p.m. game against Beloit. To make room on the active roster, A.J. Van Slyke has been transferred to State College of the New York-Penn League (Short Season-A).

Larry Bigbie's injury-plagued 2006 has kept him basically out of the lineup all season.

On June 6th, Bigbie was place on the disabled list due to an umbilical hernia requiring surgery that kept him on the DL until today.

After joining the Cardinals from Colorado during the off-season along with Aaron Miles in return for pitcher Ray King, Bigbie was injured during Spring Training. He was out from mid-March until May 8, missing 32 games due to a stress fracture in his left heel.

Bigbie was originally a first-round pick (21st overall) by the Baltimore Orioles in the 1999 draft out of Ball State. He spent his first six seasons with the Orioles' organization, reaching the big leagues for the first time in 2001 and putting up his best numbers in 2004, when he batted .280 with 15 home runs in 139 games. In July of 2005, Baltimore traded Bigbie to Colorado in exchange for outfielder Eric Byrnes. That set the stage for St. Louis to add Bigbie and second baseman Aaron Miles in a trade for Ray King on December 7, 2005.

Entering the 2006 season, Bigbie had a career batting average of .268 through 375 major league games, including 31 home runs and 136 RBI. He hit .271 in 352 games with Baltimore before playing just 23 contests with the Rockies at the end of the 2005 campaign. Bigbie had a .296 batting average as a minor leaguer in the Orioles' farm system.

Steve Stone, the former Major League pitcher and Chicago Cubs announcer once said that Larry Bigbie could potentially be a national league batting champion someday. It is that Larry Bigbie, that fans had hoped the Cardinals had traded for during the winter.

He spent more than a month on the DL in 2003 with a right shoulder strain. In 2004 he was on the DL from August 18 to September 1, with a groin strain. He spent additional time on the DL with Colorado in 2005, from August 22 through September 6 with a strain right Achilles.

The Cardinals knew that Bigbie was injured near the end of last season, but had hope he would be ready to start in left by opening day.

Bigbie begins his seventh career rehab assignment tonight with the Swing of Quad Cities. Fans can only hope the future batting champion that Steve Stone once described, returns to help the Cardinals win another pennant.

But as the season begins its second half, the question fans had in December still remains, is Larry Bigbie the Cards answer in left?

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