Well, it appears that our 25-man is all set for the season, with Joe Mather being the last name cut from the list today http://stlouis.cardinals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090402&content_id=4112094&vkey=news_stl&fext=.jsp&c_id=stl
So it would appear we're starting the season with a total of FIVE middle infielders, and pretty much no power on the bench. Does anyone else think that perhaps Barden, Ryan, Thurston AND Schumaker is a little bit of overkill for the 2B spot? In all honesty, I don't think it'll be too long before changes are made but I can't really see that this is a sensible move in any way. The trio of Barden, Ryan and Thurston are likely to be seeing VERY limited action other than as pinch-hitters and (in one of Barden/Ryan's case) 2B when there's a LHP on the mound.
Mather AAA OPS: 1.041 in 254 PA
Barden AAA OPS: .770 in 456 PA
Ryan MLB/OPS: .629 in 306 PA
Thurston AAA OPS: .823 in 575 PA
Kind of hard to justify Mather starting 09 in AAA when you consider that the amount of defense THREE backup middle infielders are going to have to play (between each other) could quite easily be handled by two. In case I haven't made myself particularly clear - this is an awful decision and I hate it. There is about as much reason for carrying Brian Barden and Brendan Ryan on an MLB roster as there would be, say, carrying Cesar Izturis and Brendan Ryan on the same MLB roster.