Kelly, Anna among those vying for final bench spot -

Kelly, Anna among those vying for final bench spot

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By John Bailey By John Bailey

by Brian Feldman / BaseballStL | @BFeldman

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals everyday starting lineup appears set. Eighty percent of the bench looks the same way. If everything goes as planned in spring training - though when was the last time that happened? - there's just one bench spot to be had.

It's the spot Daniel Descalso used to own.

26-year old Ty Kelly is in a group of players fighting for that gig.  He's competing with Dean Anna, Pete Kozma and Greg Garcia. With a strong - and healthy - showing in Florida, it's possible Aledmys Diaz could force his way into that conversation as well.  

But Kelly has something the Cards absolutely covet for a bench spot. He's versatile. The man can play almost any position on the field except for pitcher, catcher and maybe center field.  

"I can do a little bit of everything," Kelly said during his media session at Winter Warm Up. "I'm just trying to improve on everything, stealing bases and play as many positions as I can. Just do it all really."

Kelly's power could be a deciding factor as well. He popped 15 home runs in 2014 for Seattle's AAA affiliate and had 11 in 2012 - though most of those came in A ball.  

Anna, meanwhile, is a 28-year old whose big league career consists of all of 22 at-bats a year ago for the Yankees.  He is a former AAA batting champion, hitting .331 in 2013.

"I don't want to actually say I'm going to hit .330," Anna said Saturday at  Winter Warm Up. "Especially last year, I didn't hit that well (.207 in 198 AAA at-bats) because you're trying to hit .330 like I did that one year. I learned last year, you have to take it day by day. That's how I won the batting title. I took it day by day."

Anna bats left-handed and can play a number of infield positions, something that should appeal to the Cardinals as they search for the best fit on their roster.  

"I think that's going to help me, especially with the double switches," Anna said. "I was in the American League with the Yankees. I think with the National League I might have a better chance to play a little more, get more at-bats."


To get them, he’ll have to have a strong spring training. In addition to Kelly, Kozma and Garcia have both played in the majors for the Cardinals, and have the attention of the team.

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