The Redbird Report 01/15

The Scott Rolen-Tony La Russa feud ended Jan. 14 when the Cardinals deal him to Toronto. St. Louis received Troy Glaus in the swap of veteran third basemen.

Rolen was displeased with the way La Russa handled the third baseman's injury problems, a dispute that gained national visibility when La Russa benched him for a start in the 2006 World Series even though Rolen maintained he was healthy.

Rolen's health did fail him in recent years, leading to three surgeries on his left shoulder. He missed the last month of the 2007 season and played just 112 games overall, hitting .265. Rolen also played just 56 games in 2005.

Despite the injuries and unhappiness, Rolen had a highly successful tenure in St. Louis, making four All-Star appearances and reaching the World Series twice in 5 1/2 seasons.

Glaus was the 2002 World Series MVP for the Angels, and he is a four-time All-Star. He was slowed by an injured foot last year, when he played just 115 games. Glaus hit 20 homers, his lowest total ever in a season in which he played more than 100 games. In his first season in Toronto, Glaus hit 38 homers and drove in 104 runs in 2006.

NOTES AND QUOTES

--New Cardinals RHP Matt Clement averaged at least 32 starts between 1999 and 2005, so when he was shut down after June 14, 2006, with a shoulder problem that required labrum and rotator cuff repair, Clement was in unfamiliar territory.

"I didn't believe I would ever get hurt," said Clement, who signed with the Cardinals for a $1.5 million base with a chance to make much more in incentives. His deal includes a club option that could net him $10 million in 2009. "I take pride in making 30 starts every year," Clement said. "When the reality sets in that you can't pitch, it's a tough thing to deal with."

Clement said it also was difficult to deal with those in Boston who didn't think he was really hurt in 2006.

"What bothers me the most was the doubt," Clement told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Don't tell me I'm faking an injury because I don't want to pitch. I probably made five starts before I cried, 'uncle.'"

This year, Clement said he would be ready by Opening Day, or if not then, shortly thereafter.

"I can't guarantee anything. Nobody can," said Clement, who has won at least 13 games three times.

"I just have to get the rust off. If it's not now, it's later."

--INF Aaron Miles, a valuable extra man who hit .290 last season, wasn't offered a contract in December because the Cardinals didn't want to go to with arbitration with him. But clearly, they did want him back, signing the switch hitter to a one-year, $1.4 million contract. Miles will be given at least a chance to platoon at second with Adam Kennedy, who had an awful 2007.

--The Cardinals completed their front office realignment by adding former New York Mets executive Gary LaRocque as a senior assistant to the general manager. Earlier, John Abbamondi, who had worked in the Major League Baseball offices, was hired as assistant general manager.

--Jerry Walker, long a right-hand man to former general manager Walt Jocketty, has retired. Walker, 69 and a former big-league right-hander, said, "I'm going to do the things I've been putting off for 51 years."

--The Cardinals will finish up their exhibition schedule with two games at Springfield, Mo., against their Class AA club, on March 28-29.

--Besides C Yadier Molina and OF Rick Ankiel, RHP Todd Wellemeyer is a candidate for salary arbitration.

BY THE NUMBERS: .649 -- 1B Josh Phelps' slugging percentage in 77 at-bats with Pittsburgh in 2007. He hit .296 as a pinch hitter.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "The more unusual a player is, the more challenging that (arbitration) process can be." -- Assistant GM John Abbamondi, on a potential arbitration case for pitcher-turned-outfielder Rick Ankiel,



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