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Harping on the outfield

Cardinals play Orioles today in spring training action. Gameday link here.

Spring Training Leaderboard as of 3/21/07:
HR Duncan (5)
AB Duncan (53)
ERA seven tied at (0.00)
W Reyes (3)

Also, the team has announced that smoking will be banned at the stadium starting this year. I think this is actually somewhat silly. I would understand banning smoking in a domed stadium, but new Busch is open-air--the amount of secondhand smoke is pretty minimal, or at least it was for me when I went to Old Busch (I have yet to go to new Busch). If they wanted to create smoking and non-smoking sections, I could understand that a little more, but eh. It'll be a different atmosphere for me. I understand that a lot of you will disagree with me on this one.

Just a little over a week until the Cardinals play in the major league opener on Sunday, 1 April. The starters are staring to throw numbers of innings that actually resemble actual starts. People who have been reading for a while know that I am really one that loves to analyze Tony La Russa. In this week's edition of Cardinals game notes, I found the following gem regarding Preston Wilson:

he can be a key guy for us. Before we signed him there were 300 or 400 at-bats out there for the right guy, and we were looking for the right guy and we chose Preston. But somebody else can get them. He can get them, but he's got to be the guy that earns them.

This has a lot of the usual nonsense of Tony contradicting himself and talking both ways, but it sounds to me as if Tony is starting to get impatient with Wilson's lack of hitting. I doubt that the team heads north without Wilson on the roster, thanks to the injuries to Encarnación and Edmonds. Assuming that the team begins the season with twelve pitchers that leaves room for thirteen position players. Subtract off Pujols, Kennedy, Eckstein, Rolen, Molina and Duncan, and that leaves seven open spots. Bennett, Miles and Spezio are pretty much assured their spots as they are the only competent backups for the infielders, and that leaves four remaining spots will end up just going to Taguchi, Wilson, Schumaker, and Rodriguez (I don't see any other candidates that fit the bill on, and I've been having trouble finding a roster that takes into account the reassignments of Bozied and Ankiel.

If Wilson and Taguchi continue to not hit during the minor league stints of Edmonds and Encarnación, I really don't see what the combination of Taguchi/Wilson gives you that the combination of Rodriguez/Schumaker does, other than Taguchi's theoretical ability to play second. I think that Tony is slowly coming to this realization as well, though it is odd that he chose to single out Wilson, who has certainly done better than Taguchi's .150/.190/.150!! line this spring. But that's the vegetarian happy lawyer geinus for you.