(BaseballStL) -- The St. Louis Cardinals do not have much to prove to their fans after having a Cinderella-type comeback to win the World Series last year. The only thing the team needs to prove is that it can win without two future Hall of Famers who have since left.
Albert Pujols and Tony La Russa. Those are two names that have been the pillars of Cardinals baseball since 2001, but they will now become a distant memory as the team gears up to repeat without them.
La Russa, 67, retired following a wild postseason trip which resulted in capturing the franchise’s eleventh World Series championship and Pujols left the team during the Winter Meetings to sign with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. But through the magical October and then the upsetting offseason, the team remains focus on its only goal...repeat as champions.
“The excitement level in that clubhouse has not changed a bit. It might be the most exciting I have seen our team,” Wainwright, who spent the season in the dugout recovering from surgery, said.
The major absentee during this spring training might just be Dave Duncan who is away to tend to his wife, Jeanine, who is battling brain cancer.
“We will really have to wait and see,” Wainwright said. “I think with the quality pitching coach Derek Lilliquist is and how much he learned coming up as a pitcher and as a coach in this organization, the philosophies learned here taught by Dave (Duncan)...all things he preached, we learned.”
-Scott Bierman, BaseballStL