Cards' backup plans may center on Greene

Cards' backup plans may center on Greene

ST. LOUIS -- With their 2011 roster just about set, the Cardinals are now down to addressing small problems, questions of the tactical and matchup variety. Manager Tony La Russa indicated Sunday that one of those questions might have a surprising answer.

The club has no obvious right-handed backup for center fielder Colby Rasmus. Jon Jay, the other player likely to make the roster who could be a viable center field option, is a left-handed hitter. Allen Craig, Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman do not represent legitimate options in center for the manager.

So, La Russa said on Sunday, he might look to an infielder to fill that role.

Tyler Greene, a speedy shortstop who currently projects as a reserve, utility infielder for the 2011 Cardinals, could see some time in center field in Spring Training. Greene played three innings at the position in 2009, but otherwise has been an infielder throughout his career.

"This guy is a plus talent," La Russa said. "We have had some discussions, because one of the things you would look at would be a right-handed-hitting center fielder. Because there's going to be a day or two where Colby [Rasmus], or anybody, is going to sit. And it probably makes sense for that day to be against a left-hander who's really difficult. So a right-handed-hitting center fielder [would help].

"So we talked about Tyler maybe getting some at-bats out there. Spring Training, we're kind of creative about what we try down there, with a point to make. Nothing crazy. In Tyler's case, you may see him play some center field."