Without Spiezio, the Cards have no true backup for Scott Rolen at third base. When Rolen needs a break, La Russa said Aaron Miles would most likely get the nod at third.
However, when Miles moves over to third, that leaves the Cards without a true backup middle infielder, forcing La Russa to be creative.
The manager said that So Taguchi would likely get some time in the infield if needed. Taguchi was taking ground balls in the infield before Wednesday's game. He's appeared at second base once this season, marking his only appearance in the infield.
"We've got Miles [to back up third]. We've got an off-day Monday. I don't know if Scott [Rolen] can play four in a row. Probably not," La Russa said. "But our second infielder is Taguchi. That doesn't bother me at all."
Another option for La Russa would be to carry just 11 pitchers, rather than the 12 they are currently carrying and call up an infielder like Brendan Ryan. Earlier in the season, the Cards carried 11 pitchers, but La Russa said he would be reluctant to go back to that.
"Twelve is like the magic number," La Russa said. "I really enjoyed 11 there for a while. That extra maneuverability can help you. You just can't keep doing it to these guys."
In order to go back to carrying just 11 pitchers, La Russa said the starting pitchers would have to go deep into ballgames to give their bullpen a break, which has not been a trend thus far this season, despite getting back-to-back seven inning outings from Anthony Reyes and Kip Wells.
"The only way you can go with 11 pitchers is if you say we're going to do exactly in the starting rotation what we've done this week so far," La Russa said. "That hasn't been our track record."
More on Ankiel La Russa said he won't hesitate to use the left-handed hitting Ankiel against left-handed pitching. Ankiel's numbers in the Minor Leagues were favorable against lefties. He hit .283 against lefties compared to .265 against righties.
"Unless it's one of those left-handers that wipes out left-handers, I have no problems starting him," La Russa said.
Number switch: In order to accommodate Ankiel's arrival, bench coach Joe Pettini gave up his No. 24 for Ankiel to sport. Pettini switched to No. 49. When Ankiel first came up as a pitcher in 1999, he wore No. 66. When he came up a second time in 2004, he wore No. 49
Baby 'Birds: Triple-A Memphis lost to Portland, 11-4, on Wednesday. Jarrett Hoffpaur was 2-for-5 with one RBI and one run scored. Ankiel went 0-for-4 in his last game. Mike Parisi took the loss, giving up five runs in six innings. ... Double-A Springfield lost to San Antonio, 12-8. Cody Haerther was 3-for-5 with three doubles and three RBIs. Jose Martinez and Juan Lucena each homered. ... Class A Palm Beach lost to Dunedin, 13-3. Allen Craig was 3-for-4 with his 18th home run of the season. He's now batting .323 on the season. Adam Ottavino took the loss, falling to 9-7 on the season. ... Class A Quad Cities beat Dayton, 5-2. Steve Hill was 3-for-3 with an RBI. Nicholas Derba was 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Tyler Herron pitched five innings of one-run ball, getting the win and improving to 10-5 on the season.
Short-season Batavia lost to Hudson Valley, 8-4. Andrew Brown had two hits including a two-run homer. He finished with three RBIs. ... Rookie-level Johnson City dropped a doubleheader to Elizabethton. Johnson City scored just three runs in the two games. Mike Folli and Travis Mitchell each had two hits on the day. ... The Gulf Coast League Cardinals had Wednesday off.
Coming up: The Cards and Dodgers will start a three-game series on Friday night. Brad Penny will take the mound for the Dodgers, while the Cards will counter with Adam Wainwright. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. CT.
Daniel Berk is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less