The entire team is here now. Today marked the first full squad workout, though most of the players have been here for a few days already. Troy Glaus checked into camp. He's not practicing yet, but he is working out. Glaus had the shoulder surgery last month and will likely miss the first month of the season. Joe Mather and David Freese are the front runners to hold down the third base job while Glaus is out. Freese had a big year at AAA Memphis, but Mather has already proven he can handle major league pitching. Mather was a shortstop early in his career. He's a big guy, 6-4 and 200 pounds, and told me he was moved from shortstop because they thought he was too big. Third base shouldn't be much of a problem for Mather. He's looked good there so far this spring. It could be a tough decision for Tony La Russa deciding between Freese and Mather, but the Grapefruit League games usually help to sort things out. Mather will almost certainly make the team as a spare outfielder, but Freese will probably be sent back to the minors if he doesn't beat out Mather for the temporary opening at third base.
Colby Rasmus told me today he thinks he has to earn a starting job in the outfield or he'll be sent back to Memphis. Rasmus is only 22, and the Cardinals would no doubt rather have him play all the time at AAA rather than spend considerable time on the bench in St. Louis. I asked La Russa about that and he said Rasmus' situation hinges to a large extent on what happens with Skip Schumaker at second base. If Schumaker becomes the regular second baseman, that frees up a lot of playing time for another outfielder. If he can't handle second defensively Skip goes back to the outfield. So Rasmus is pulling hard for Schumaker to look good at second, so Colby can win a job with the major league team.
I read in the Palm Beach newspaper that a man down here went to Wal Mart to buy some plants. He went to the garden department, picked up a potted bush, and a pygmy rattlesnack jumped out from the plant and bit him on the arm. He had to be hospitalized, and now he's sueing the store. I mention this because I was going to go to Wal Mart myself to pick up a few things, but I think now I'll wait till I'm back home. We don't have pygmy rattlesnacks in St. Louis. I checked.