St. Louis Cardinals fans were out in full force during Sunday's festivities at the 12th Annual Winter Warm-Up. The day got off to a Hall of Fame start with Red Schoendienst signing autographs. Following him was Whitey Herzog, who fell just short of election to the Hall of Fame this past fall. Both seemed in good spirits and good health.
The morning also brought forth newly-acquired Brian Barton. The Cardinals selected the former Cleveland Indian during the Rule 5 draft at the winter meetings. The 25-year-old is coming off knee surgery but reports he is at "somewhere in the nineties and is running again."
The longest lines of the day were for future Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa. La Russa's Sunday promised to be long, as after his autograph session he was to prepare for his Animal Rescue Fundraiser to be held on Sunday night. The always intense La Russa seemed to enjoy his time with Cardinal fans as he was seen smiling quite a bit. Surely it has nothing to do with a trade that occurred earlier in the week.
One of the highlights of the afternoon was the appearance of Colby Rasmus (left above). The 21-year-old looks forward to spring training and thinks, "It will be a lot of fun. I just want to get better and let the Cardinals make the decisions." Brendan Ryan signs autographs on the right.
Of the six outfielders that will be battling for playing time during spring training, five appeared on Sunday. Along with Rasmus and Barton were Skip Schumaker, Ryan Ludwick and Chris Duncan. Rick Ankiel is scheduled during Monday's festivities.
Chris Duncan (above) has been in Jupiter working out with Ankiel, with the two hitting and taking flyballs on a daily basis. Duncan says they have also worked on communication because "If Rick is in centerfield, I don't want us to plow into each other." He reports he is healthy after sports hernia surgery but has not worked out with brother Shelley this off-season. There are rumors the injury might have resulted from sibling rivalry in the weight room.
Other notes: Josh Kinney (left above) reports he started long tossing at 150 feet every other day and will shortly move it up to 180 feet. He is scheduled to start throwing off the mound in February. Ryan Franklin is pictured on the right.
Ryan Ludwick (above) delivered the quote of the day. When asked about the youthful outfield, he replied, "I referred to myself as the grandfather of the outfield yesterday but I don't consider myself a grandfather in the wisdom factor. I am just the old guy out there."
The Flores brothers, Randy on the left and Ron on the right, were present and accounted-for.
Of course, rabid Cardinals fans were everywhere!
Keep checking back at The Birdhouse for subscriber-only interviews with Rasmus, Barton, Schumaker, Ludwick, Duncan, Kinney, Randy Flores, and Ryan Franklin.
Link to related article: St. Louis Cardinals Winter Warm-Up: Day 1
Dustin Mattison can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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