Nothing by accident
I’ve said it more than once — nothing is accidental in Cardinals camp. Hitting groups, fielding groups, pitching groups, it’s all by design.
That doesn’t bode well for John Rodriguez. I’m a Rodriguez backer, because I like his bat a lot. I think he’s someone who could do very good things with 400 at-bats or so. He may not be a Gold Glover, but in my opinion, his offense is enough to justify more regular playing time than he’s gotten. With that said, things don’t appear to be set up much in his favor.
At the risk of reading too much into things, here’s how the hitting groups were set up today. The first group of outfielders to hit live on Field 3 featured Preston Wilson, So Taguchi, Chris Duncan, Skip Schumaker and Rick Ankiel. The second had Rodriguez, Colby Rasmus, Miguel Negron, Tagg Bozied, Ryan Ludwick and Cody Haerther.
By no means does that mean Rodriguez won’t make the team. He could certainly hit his way on, and his two seasons of production help his case. But it’s clear that even if he’s not at a disadvantage, he doesn’t come in with any advantage.
For what it’s worth, at the end of the workout today, as everyone was headed in towards the clubhouse, Rodriguez and Duncan were still taking balls in the outfield, working with Larry Walker on fielding and throwing.
(no music on right now; I’m watching the race. Was listening to Tanya Donnelly’s outstanding "This Hungry Life" earlier today, though, and I highly recommend it.)