Jan 17, 2011, 1:38 AM EDT
La Russa’s statement came at a press conference shortly after Holliday stated publically he would like to know if he would be switching from left to right field for the 2011 season. Holliday said he was willing to switch, but would like to know so he could prepare himself, “just for repetitions sake.”
But La Russa made it clear that Berkman would be the team’s right fielder.
“Lance will make the routine play out there, there’s no doubt in my mind,” the manager said. “That’s where he’s going to play, and Matt doesn’t have to make a change.”
This could be an adventure. Holliday is a very good defensive left fielder, ranking fourth in UZR at his position in 2010, so it makes sense to keep him where he is.
And Berkman, 35, has reportedly lost 20 pounds to prepare in anticipation of a return to the outfield. But while Berkman has played 963 games in the outfield, including 166 in center field, none of those games have come in the last three seasons, and he never graded out well defensively as an outfielder anyway.
But La Russa, never one to succumb to conventional thinking, refused to entertain the notion that the Cardinals will be giving up defense to put Berkman’s bat in the lineup.
“We’re not giving up the routine play, that’s what you worry about,” La Russa said. “He’s got a hell of a bat and he’s going to be an average, at least, outfielder.
“I don’t feel like we’re conceding anything.”
- VIDEO: Derek Jeter passes Carl Yastrzemski for seventh on all-time hits list 6
- Ray Rice is awful, but let’s not pretend baseball has a great record on domestic violence 75
- And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights 49
- Mariners’ interest in Matt Kemp is “very real” 29
- Astros players upset over Mark Appel’s promotion to Double-A, bullpen session in Houston 45
- Four theories about the Hall of Fame voting changes 24
- Troy Tulowitzki is visiting a sports hernia surgeon 10
- Settling the Score: Saturday’s results 29
- Expert’s Corner: How to troll fans of all 30 teams (201)
- Verducci: baseball should think about an “illegal defense” rule to combat shifts (165)
- Yankees acquire Chase Headley from Padres (108)
- David Ortiz passes Carl Yastrzemski on the all-time home run list — is he a Hall of Famer? (92)
- Ten years ago today the Alex Rodriguez-Jason Varitek brawl changed the narrative of the Sox-Yankees rivalry (88)