Spring Fever

From stltoday.com:

When the Cardinals acquired third baseman Troy Glaus he seemed earmarked for the cleanup job, a big bat protecting Albert Pujols. Then La Russa checked the numbers. Glaus is a career .238 hitter at cleanup, hitting .229 there last season. In the No. 5 spot, Glaus hits .259 (.353 last season) and slugs .500 vs. .471 at cleanup.

Only finding another cleanup hitter would keep the Cardinals from putting him in that spot. And La Russa has someone in mind: Rick Ankiel.

Ankiel hit cleanup in both games against Atlanta, and he went two for three there Sunday. He offers a lefthanded buffer between righties Pujols and Glaus. La Russa has said cleanup is a role he doesn’t heap on a batter lightly — that it can be “the most difficult spot in the lineup.” He thinks it won’t faze Ankiel.

“You take what you think is classic human nature and then you make exceptions if you have a guy,” La Russa said. “I think Ank is going to take the same at-bat wherever he goes.”


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