Skip Schumaker opened spring training working out at second base and while La Russa said that the competition was open for who would start the season at second, Skip has the early edge and the manager's guarantee that he'll bake the ballclub. What seemed to be a harebrained idea a couple of weeks ago is becoming a reality. If Schumaker can handle the position, he'll open the door for Colby Rasmus to earn a spot on the Opening Day roster.
Cardinals' manager Tony La Russa has implied that 25-year-old David Freese will get the first and longest look at third in spring training while Troy Glaus, who is in camp, is recovering from shoulder surgery. Freese will be competing against infielders, Brian Barden, Joe Thurston and Brendan Ryan as well as outfielder Joe Mather, who is being a look at playing at second and third. Freese is currently not on the 40-man roster, so the Cardinals will have to make a roster move for him if he makes the club.
Brett Wallace, the Cardinals 2008 first round draft pick, will likely start the 2009 campaign with Triple-A Memphis if Freese breaks camp with the major league club. Freese has the early edge in the competition, throw in that infielders Brian Barden, Brendan Ryan and outfielder Joe Mather are already on the 40-man roster, makes Wallace a very long shot at sticking with the team.
Superstar Albert Pujols will not play in the World Baseball Classic due to insurance issues after October elbow surgery; even though he says he has fully recovered. Pujols played for the Dominican Republic in the 2006 tournament. Hopefully Ryan Ludwick, Yadier Molina and Joel Pineiro will also decide to take a pass on the Word Baseball Classic and focus on preparing for the season, rather than participating in an exhibition series.
Chris Carpenter who has missed most of the past two seasons, came through his first off-the-mound throwing session without incident. "I can't imagine him being much better than he is right now," pitching coach Dave Duncan said. Kyle McClellan is penciled in as the team's #6 starter this spring, depending on the health of Carpenter. McClellan has spent the offseason conditioning himself to be a starter this spring.
BIRDS THAT HAVE FLOWN THE COOP
Former St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Adam Kennedy who was released by the Cardinals last week with a year remaining on his contract, signed a minor league deal with the Tampa Bay Rays. Kennedy is scheduled to make $4 million this season, but the Rays would only have to pay him the major league minimum $400,000 if he makes the team. The Cardinals, who signed the 33-year-old to a $10 million, three-year deal before the 2007 season, would be responsible for the rest of the salary.
The Cardinals all-time saves leader, Jason Isringhausen, is still a free agent and it doesn't appear that the Cardinals are interested in bringing him back in any capacity. Jason, who has been holding out in hopes of returning to St. Louis, has drawn some interest from at least four teams.
Downtown Emil Brown, who played for Triple-A Memphis in 2004, signed a minor league deal with the San Diego Padres. Brown was an everyday player the last three seasons with the Royals and A's, but will be competing for a role on the Padres bench this season.
The Cardinals start their Grapefruit League schedule a week from today on February 25th.
Ray Mileur can be reached via email at email@example.com.
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