Thursday, January 26, 2006

Bigbie, Rodriguez to Face Off

With Jim Edmunds and Juan Encarnacion holding down center and right fields, respectively, for the St. Louis Cardinals in '06, a battle is shaping up between two lefty power hitters who have yet to live up to the hyperbole that has dogged them for the past five years. Time grows short for Larry Bigbie, 29, who despite batting .280 with 15 HR in 478 ABs with the Baltimore Orioles in '04 was held back by injuries last year and has been perceived as expendable not only by Baltimore, who sent him to Colorado, but by the Rockies, who traded him to St. Louis. Though the Cards' left field spot appears to be Bigbie's to lose, his problem is that Rodriquez has a similar profile and is roughly the same age at 28. In a brief, 149-AB appearance with the Cards last year, J-Rod caught management's attention by hitting .295 with 5 HRs. The former PCL All-Star was the organization's minor league player of the month in April '04 whn he batted .352 with 9 HRs for the 30-day period. The parent club called him up last year from AAA Memphis where in 120 ABs he hit 17 HRs with a .419 OBP.