Off season 2007-08

October 1 , 2007. Last Friday, as part of the Cardinals' annual camp out experience, my son and I were among the fans who had the rare opportunity to tour the team's clubhouse. For the most part, it appears that starting pitchers, relievers and position players have their own areas. However, because of trades and callups, there are a few interlopers (note where Branyan and Johnson are located). Albert was one of the few players who didn't have a jersey hanging on his locker. He also was low on bats compared to most guys. Only seven bats remained in his locker, and five of those were Marucci. Being the bat nerd I am, I took shots of several players' bat stocks, including: Eckstein, Ankiel (note how the 49 was changed to 24), Isringhausen (yes, he has his own bats), Franklin (note the bat with the 4 stamped in the knob), Wainwright and Carpenter. I couldn't get a closeup of Edmonds' or Spiezio's lockers, but if you look close enough, you can see Scott has what appears to be an aluminum bat in his arsenal... Tomorrow, I'll share more photos from inside the clubhouse.

October 2, 2007. It's fun to look in players' lockers and see some of the funny and unusual items they display. Among the things I spotted on our clubhouse tour: Wellemeyer has a Mr. Potato Head (note the Dwight Schrutt photo leaning against it) and a Yadi bobblehead; Flores has a troll guarding his locker; Encarnacion likes shoes (also, check out that red glove); Albert displays his 2007 Roberto Clemente Award; both Izzy and So have their TBTC jerseys from Milwaukee folded on the floors of their lockers; Izzy also has a hunting bow hanging (sorry, no photo) and a catcher's mitt; and Wainwright has a Kip Wells bat and two other bats sheathed in socks (is he a collector?)... A painting of Darryl Kile hangs on the side of Carpenter's locker next to a doorway that connects the dressing area with a lounge. Note the golf video games and the plasma screen... Josh Hancock's locker remains, though all that's left is one of his home jerseys.

October 3, 2007. I've updated Albert's bat use record to include the entire 2007 season. During the season, Pujols had 679 plate appearances. His bats of choice were the black Sam Bat (46%) and the natural Marucci (37%). He relied on the black Sam most of the season, but started swinging Marucci in late June and used Marucci almost exclusively from mid-August on. Of his remaining plate appearances, 78 were with Sam Bat (68 natural, 10 two-tone), 36 were with Max Bat, 4 were with Louisville Slugger (3 M9, 1 ash) and 2 were with Old Hickory. If you ignore the finish, Albert came to the plate with a Sam Bat 57% of the time in 2007... How did he do with those bats? His best average was achieved with Marucci -- he hit .365 with 9 HR. In terms of power, the black Sam Bat generated 20 HR and a .332 average. He hit .288/3 HR with other Sam Bat finishes and just .143/0 HR with Max Bat. He did not have a hit with either Louisville Slugger or Old Hickory.

October 5, 2007. Now that the season is over, I have time to catch up on some things I've been putting off -- like uploading photos of all the bats I have for sale. I can check that one off the list. Also, the uniform numbers section is updated to include all 2007 players and coaches. Now, if I could just find the time to update the Player Models section.

October 10, 2007. I just noticed that the link to the Sam Bat manufacturing database wasn't working in some of the past blog entries. This link should work... I've been tinkering with a Web site redesign that is more user friendly. It includes a search function that allows users to find information on the site more easily, and also features access to more resources on the home page. Not sure when it'll be ready to roll, but I should have a test page up sometime this month.

October 22, 2007. MLB.com ended four auctions last night featuring Cardinals jerseys. A gold-trimmed LaRussa shirt from the opening series vs. the Mets drew a top bid of $1,220, but an Izzy jersey from the same series didn't attract a $750 minimum bid. (Two weeks ago, an Eckstein gold-trimmed shirt fetched $1,550.) Also last night, a So Taguchi home jersey from 2006 brought $1,210; and a 2006 WS home jersey from Jeff Suppan didn't get a $1,000 minimum bid. It's the second time the Suppan shirt didn't draw a bid at that price... The Birdbats Web site redesign is moving along. Most of the main pages are completed; it's the supporting pages that are delaying the process. There are more than 200 uniform number pages, plus others. But, I'm getting there. I'm planning to add new sections with information on Cardinals jerseys and other memorabilia (press pins, media guides, etc.). It'll be worth the wait (and work), I hope... Happy birthday, dad!

November 12 , 2007. One of the toughest things to do in this hobby is estimate the value of any game-used item. This has been especially difficult with Mark McGwire bats. Mark's values were strong and established before he went before Congress and said he didn't want to talk about the past. Since then, values have dropped -- but how much has not been clear. People with legit bats were holding onto them because they knew they'd lose money in today's market. However, two nice Mac bats sold at auction during the past couple of weeks. Their results suggest the market value for a signed 1999-2000 Mac bat is in the $1,600-2,000 range. A 1999 bat sold by Mastro for $1,641 and a 2000 bat sold by Heritage for $1,400. With the buyer's premium, the new owners paid $1,969 and $1,673. I wasn't crazy about the Mastro bat (not cracked, very light tar), but the Heritage bat was sweet. I'd think a legit, signed 1998 bat could still fetch $2,500, but it's clear Mac's values have dropped about 35-50 percent from their peak.

November 13 , 2007. There are few names that elicit automatic trust among collectors. For me, one of those names was "Steiner" -- until today. Steiner's deals with the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox and other teams ensures they receive items directly from those teams. However, when they step outside those agreements, it apparently can get dicey. Example A, this Albert Pujols 2001 jersey. This puppy isn't even close. The number of the front is laughably huge and the letters on the back are too thick. The Grey Flannel letter than accompanies the shirt is just as funny. After describing the jersey, the authenticators write, "We were told by our client that the jersey came from an impeccable source." Well, gee, that clinches it! Must be real! Grey Flannel has lost any credibility it may ever have had, and Steiner is harming its good name by trusting GFC's worthless LOAs.

November 16 , 2007. I guess Steiner got the message -- the auction for the Pujols jersey was stopped yesterday evening... Here's another example of how hard it can be to estimate a bat's value. A while back, I received a call from a local dealer about a 1965-68 Curt Flood bat; he had a chance to acquire it and wanted to know what it was worth. Even though the MastroNet Price Guide lists it at $500, I said he'd likely be able to sell it in the neighborhood of $1,000. He bought the bat (I don't know what he paid), but after he and the seller learned of two other Flood bats for sale, both questioned my estimate. One is on MEARS' site for $3,000 and the other was offered by J. T. Sports for $3,500 (a 1968 World Series bat). Well, the dealer tried to sell the bat locally, asking $1,200. At least three near-deals fell through, so he listed it on eBay. The auction ended yesterday; the high bid was only $335 (it did not meet reserve). So, what's it worth? $335? $1,000? $3,000? I'll stick with my original estimate. There's a 1965-68 Flood bat in the current Leland's auction; doesn't show much, if any use. Will be interested to see how it fares.

December 1 , 2007. With yesterday's signing of Cesar Izturis, we can officially begin the hot stove uniform number guessing game. Izturis has worn #3 his entire career, from LA to Chicago to Pittsburgh. That digit was worn last season in St. Louis by Preston Wilson and Miguel Cairo, both of whom are free agents. Look for Izturis to get his favorite number... Jason LaRue won't have the same luck, unless Anthony Reyes is traded. Jason was #23 most of his career in Cincinnati. He was #26 as a rookie (Spiezio) and #6 last season in KC (ha ha)... Numbers from last season that we know have become available include: #21 (Wells), #22 (Eckstein), #28 (Bennett), #33 (Branyan and Cavazos), #35 (Stinnett), #40 (Percival and Falkenborg), #46 (Maroth) and a few of the higher numbers.

December 3 , 2007. I had the pleasure yesterday of meeting Rick Ankiel and asking him to autograph a couple bats. One was the bat he used to hit a home run in his comeback game on August 9. When I gave it to him, I asked if he'd please write a special notation. So, Rick started writing. And writing. And writing. It ended up reading, "Comeback bat, 8/9/07, All the Best, Rick Ankiel 24." He was very gracious and generous. You hear stories these days about players who treat their items with suspicion, asking where fans got something or even accusing them of stealing. I thought you'd like to hear about one of the good guys who went above and beyond the call to create a great experience for a collector.

December 11 , 2007. Branch Rickey used to say, "Luck is the residue of design." I now know what he meant. In the Hunt auction ending November 28, I decided to bid on what was advertised as a 1980 Jim Riggleman game-used minor league jersey. I was interested because the jersey had a crew neck, which the Cards used in 1971 and 1972 only (they switched to a V-neck in 1973). The tagging I could see in the photo also was consistent with that era. If this was a hand-me-down that had been recycled through the minor league system, I thought, maybe there was a chance it once belonged to Joe Torre. And if not, it still would look cool displayed on the wall. So, I bid and won the shirt. It arrived today and after two anxious weeks of waiting, I finally was able to examine the back of the jersey. Lo and behold, there is residue left from five removed letters -- TORRE. I'm still in shock. Just goes to show there are still treasures hiding out there. Also proves that even major auction houses can make huge mistakes in judgement.

January 3, 2008. So, what number will Matt Clement wear this spring? Most recently, he has donned #30, but that's Mulder's number. He was #51 for the 2001 Marlins, but there's almost no chance he'll get Willie's digits. I'm putting my money on #21 -- he wore that during his last season in San Diego and it's available, thanks to Kip Wells' departure... I recently acquired DVDs of the 2004 World Series and have updated Pujols' bat use record to include those four games. In 17 plate appearances, he used a natural LS M9 for 16 trips and a natural X-Bat for one AB... I'll be set up at the John A. Logan College show this coming Sunday, January 6. If you're in the area, stop by and say "Hi"... I'll also be exhibiting at the Winter Warmup in two weeks.

January 12, 2008. If the Rolen for Glaus trade materializes, it'll be interesting to see if the Cards assign Glaus #25, which has been in mothballs since McGwire hung up his cleats... It'll be equally interesting to see how long it takes for the team to re-issue numbers 15, 22, 27 and 32. I'm betting we'll see #22 and #27 on the field this season; #15 and #32 probably will be MIA in '08... Thanks to my customers who came out to the show at Logan College on 1/6. Turned out to be a very good show for the ol' bat man... One week until the Winter Warmup. I'll be there, of course.

January 13, 2008. Here's a good example of why you should be wary of item descriptions and do your homework. The Cardinals are auctioning a Rick Ankiel 2007 road jersey on the team's Web site. Notice it's #49 and it has the Josh Hancock memorial patch on the sleeve. Of course, Ankiel stopped wearing #49 on the last day of spring training (Civil Rights Game); he wore #24 when he was called up on 8/9 and kept that number the rest of the season. So, how did a spring jersey end up with a Hancock patch? Well, the Cards likely were assuming Rick would be #49 if and when he was recalled and added the patch to his spring jersey. Rick chose #24 instead. The description never calls the shirt a spring training jersey. In fact, it says, "The jersey bears #49, the initial number issued to Ankiel upon his call-up in early August." If you hadn't done your homework, you might assume from the description that Rick wore this jersey in a regular season game. It's still a nice jersey, but it's not a regular-season-worn gamer.

January 14, 2008. The comings and goings this winter have created some interesting implications in terms of bats. For example, the two most staunch users of Louisville Slugger bats -- Eckstein and Edmonds -- are gone. The one guy who used Mizuno exclusively, Taguchi, also is gone. Rolen was the other regular who used Mizuno and Louisville Slugger, and he also could be gone. Encarnacion, who often used LS, likely will not play in '08, if ever again. And Bennett, a fairly consistent LS user, signed elsewhere. The only position players remaining who used LS in a majority of their at-bats are Spiezio and Miles... Opening day could look like this, bat-wise: X-Bat at C, SS and CF (Molina, Izturis and Schumaker); Rawlings at 2B, 3B and RF (Kennedy, Glaus and Ankiel); Sam or Marucci at 1B (Pujols); and Carolina Clubs in LF (Duncan).

January 16, 2008. GM John Mozeliak said today that Troy Glaus will wear #8. It'll be good to see #8 back on the field; it hasn't been worn by a position player since Marlon Anderson in 2004. Mark Grudzielanek wore #8 in spring training 2005, but switched to #12 because he felt a single-digit number didn't look right with his long last name. That's how Hal McRae ended up with #8 -- he traded the #12 he wore that spring. McRae, obviously, will need to find a new number for the coming season. The #11 he wore throughout his playing career is owned by Jose Oquendo.

January 22, 2008. I read today that Hal McRae will wear #15 in 2008. I figured the team would let Edmonds' number remain in mothballs for at least one season. Guess not... Well, I'm partially recovered from the Winter Warmup. What a grind, but a fun grind none the less. Here are a few observations and stories from the weekend... Favorite tale from a player came courtesy of Josh Kinney. When I put one of his bats in front of him for his signature, he told me he remembered the bat. He'd used it during spring training 2007, and Kinney says, "The day I learned I was injured again and would miss the season, I picked up this bat and smashed it"... Mark Mulder has the jersey he wore when he threw the first pitch in new Busch Stadium. I thought I might have that shirt, but when I had him sign the jersey I own, I asked and received the harsh truth... Most players were very accommodating about writing notations on winning the 2006 World Series under their signatures... I thought there was a significant amount of game-used items available from the team. I've heard complaints that the inventory was weak, but unless you limited yourself to wanting Pujols, Edmonds or Rolen, there was an abundance of jerseys, caps and more. The bat selection was poor and the prices were steep, but plenty of other good stuff was there for the taking. On the second day, I bought a well-used Eckstein road jersey for $350 from the Authentics Store. And on the last day, I could still (and did) buy game-used caps for $10 -- picked up an Encarnacion, a Kinney and what I believe is a Percival. 'Nuff said... Auction prices seemed to be down on most items this year, which isn't surprising given the team missed the playoffs instead of winning the Series. Aside from a few blips, like an Edmonds GU bat that was shattered beyond repair selling for $1,200, most things were affordable. Highest auction price I saw was for a Pujols road jersey -- $2,800. It clearly was a spring training shirt (no Hancock patch, no year flag), but that didn't seem to matter. A used Pujols Sam Bat broken in two pieces was hammered down at $1,100... I saw more than one jersey offered at auction that appeared to be from spring training but was not advertised as such. That's rather troubling... It was great to see so many of my good customers and readers in person, even the ones who occassionally outbid me on things I wanted (smile, Bill!)... If I had a buck for every person who touched my bats, I'd have made twice the money I did from sales. And sales weren't half bad. Thanks to everyone who stopped by and especially to those who helped reduce my inventory.

January 25, 2008. The "bats for sale" list has been updated to reflect recent sales and include several new acquisitions... Also have a few jerseys for sale... If you have any interest in a 2006 Pujols road jersey that was used in spring training, please let me know. The jersey was purchased at last year's Winter Warm Up and comes with a team LOA. Legit Pujols jerseys with team documentation are rare, especially shirts from the World Championship season of 2006 (I know of just one other in the market). Has the straight hem and 0062 laundry tag collectors demand. Because of the World Baseball Classic, Pujols played in only three road games during the spring of '06. As a result, the shirt doesn't show much wear. In one of those games, on 3/31, Albert hit 3 HRs against the Mets, the first coming off Pedro Martinez. The Cards started the 2006 season on the road, but I have no evidence this jersey was worn in Philadelphia or Chicago.

January 29, 2008. Through the years, I've seen a few Albert Pujols bats that didn't match Albert's H&B bat order records and always wondered whether he had a duplicate set of records. Well, thanks to Dan Cohen, curator of the Louisville Slugger Museum, my curiousity has been satisfied -- Albert Pujols has a second set of H&B bat order records under the name "Alberto Pujols." Unfortunately, there's only one order of bats on that record -- for 11 black and cupped C271 models in March 2001. They have "Alberto Pujols" on the barrel. As for the other bats I've seen that don't match his records -- such as other C271 bats? Dan suggests those could be promo bats listed in the records as "any" model. He also cautions that the bat order records aren't 100 percent accurate. So, just because a black and cupped R205 doesn't appear in the records doesn't mean it isn't legit -- it could just be a typo or an omission.

February 4, 2008. The team announced its spring training roster today. The news stations focused on the signing of nonroster invitee Juan Gonzalez, but I was more interested in the uniform numbers assigned to each player (imagine that). Here's what's I've been able to track down so far: Cesar Iztutis will wear #3, Matt Clement will wear #33, Jason LaRue will wear #21, Troy Glaus will wear #8 and Brian Barton will wear #66. Interestingly, Juan Gone will wear Eckstein's #22. Fellow nonroster invitees D'Angelo Jiminez will don #28, Josh Phelps will wear #59 and Cliff Politte gets #40. As announced previously, Hal McRae will wear Edmonds' #15.

February 5, 2008. The 40-man roster and list of nonroster invitees are now posted on the Cardinals' Web site. A few observations... When you eliminate the retired numbers, the only available numbers are 25 (McGwire), 27 (Rolen), 32 (Hancock), 51 (McGee), 57 (Kile), 60, 63, 64, 69 and 93-99... Neither Mike Matheny nor Larry Walker are listed among the instructors. Last spring, Walker wore #33, the same number Russ Springer wore. It's possible this spring we could see two guys wearing #33 and two more wearing #22... There's no #58 on the list, but if bullpen catcher Jeff Murphy returns this year, that likely will be his number again... Spiezio is listed as an infielder on this year's roster. Last spring, he was listed as an outfielder... While I associate Juan Gonzalez with #19, he did wear #22 in Cleveland (2001) and Kansas City (2004). So, Eck's old digits are not new to him... I wonder if Amaury Cazana-Marti will wear a hyphenated surname on his jersey. He's typically referenced by "Marti" only, so that's probably what he'll wear. I'd have to do some research, but I don't recall a Cardinals player with a hyphenated last name on his shirt.

February 18, 2008. It seems there are no changes to spring training attire, except for the appearance of something that looks like a short-sleeve jacket. Once again, some players are wearing the 39/30 BP caps while others shun them in favor of the 59/50 game caps... Ever wonder who you're bidding against in memorabilia auctions? Here's an interesting tidbit about non-roster invitee and former Cards pitcher Cliff Politte, from the Post-Dispatch: "When [Politte] last was in spring training with the Cardinals [in 1998], he wore #68. 'I've got the jersey,' he said. 'My sister got it in an auction.'"... It was great seeing everyone this past weekend at the St. Louis Sports Collectors 3-day show in St. Louis. As always, thank you to those customers who helped lighten my inventory.

February 20, 2008. Well, there's one fewer number available with the signing of pitcher Ron Villone. He'll wear Scott Rolen's old #27. Pitchers Stuart Pomeranz and Tyler Herron were promoted to the major league camp; don't know yet what numbers they'll be assigned.

February 21, 2008. Apparently, the folks who make X-Bats did something to rub MLB the wrong way. According to Post-Dispatch writer Derrick Goold: "A handful of Cardinals — and certainly players around baseball — are without their usual bats this spring because a bat manufacturer has been fined and (at least momentarily) suspended from use by Major League Baseball. Above each of the players lockers in the clubhouse is a shelf usually loaded with bats, but Yadier Molina, Cesar Izturis, Skip Schumaker and pitcher Ryan Franklin did not have any stacked because their company, X-Bats, is momentarily suspended for a dispute not related to the quality or makeup of the bats, a club official said. Each player has shifted to another brand of bat or is test-driving selections." Not sure what those guys are using as a result. I did a quick search of the Web and couldn't find more information about the suspension... One of Birdbats' readers sent this photo of Colby Rasmus with a New York Yankees bat. Can't see which player's name is on it, though.

February 22, 2008. Last month, I lamented the fact that most of the Cardinals' Louisville Slugger users were gone. From last year's squad, only Spiezio and Miles remain from those who were regular LS customers. Well, hope springs eternal for traditionalists who don't feel baseball is baseball unless Hillerich & Bradsby is part of the game. Juan Gone was photographed swinging an M9, and at least one other player did, as well. With the suspension of X-Bats, perhaps Molina, Schumaker and Izturis will jump on the LS bandwagon.

February 23, 2008. From today's Post-Dispatch: "The Cardinals will wear red baseball caps with a stitched-letter 'K' during their exhibition game Wednesday against St. Louis University, a show of support and a way to raise money for the victims of the Feb. 7 shooting in Kirkwood. The club is having the caps made to resemble the Kirkwood High baseball team's, and after the game the Cardinals will sign the hats and an online auction will be held at the official website, stlcardinals.com. Proceeds will benefit The Backstoppers"... As expected, Troy Glaus is weilding a red-ring Rawlings bat.

February 24, 2008. STL Today.com has two great videos on its site for anyone who is interested in bats and unforms. "Cardinals: The Bat Man" shows a rep from Max Bat trying to get players to use his company's lumber. "Cardinals: Every day is laundry day" explains how much more difficult it is to do laundry for 60-plus guys in spring training than for a regular season roster of players.

February 28, 2008. In yesterday's exhibition game vs. St. Louis University, the Cardinals wore red caps with a "K" on front to honor the victims of the February 7 city hall shooting in Kirkwood, Mo... The team posed for individual photos on 2/26. You can see a gallery of these shots on Getty Images. Among the interesting uniform/equipment-related tidbits: When a Cool Base jersey is new, and the light is just right, you can really see the backing material behind the embroidered logo; nearly every player (except Troy Glaus and Brian Barton) posed with a black bat that had the MLB logo on front, circa 1999-2001. This photo of Cesar Izturis suggests it is a Manny Ramirez model, and the "Louisville Slugger" under the signature indicates it's a retail bat. In most of the photos, it's positioned so that the labeling can't be read; you can see the straight hem on Albert's jersey through his pants... With Spiezio's release, another Louisville Slugger user bites the dust.

March 1, 2008. Had a chance to watch yesterday's game on MLB.com and take a few notes about the bats guys were using. Here's a recap of the brands and finishes I could make out on the tiny, low-res picture: Marucci - Pujols (Gwynn), Ryan (nat w/ black tape), Gonzalez (blk); Rawlings - Ludwick (blk), Glaus (nat); X-Bat - Molina (Bonds), Mark Johnson (blk); Old Hickory - Marti (blk); Max Bat - Hoffpauir (nat); Carolina Club - Duncan (blk); Louisville Slugger - Miles (Galen ash), Barton (nat ash w/ white tape), Phelps (nat M9), Freese (blk M9). Models I couldn't discern included Rasmus' bat (blk), Jiminez (blk w/ thin silver band) and Mather (blk handle, nat barrel)... This can never be said enough: The red caps look so much better than the navy caps when worn with the gray road uniforms. I don't hate the navy caps and I recognize the historical precedent, but the red caps are simply perfect against the gray.

March 10, 2008. The Birds were on television today and I was able to note the bats they were using. Many were using the same bats used on March 1, but there were some changes. Here's the rundown: Marucci - Pujols (Gwynn), Gonzalez (blk); Rawlings - Ludwick (blk), Ankiel (blk), Glaus (nat); X-Bat - Molina (Bonds), Izturis (Gwynn); Max Bat - Hoffpauir (nat); Louisville Slugger - Kennedy (nat ash), Barton (nat ash), Wainwright (nat ash); Zinger - Mather (blk handle, nat barrel); Sam Bat - Glaus (nat).

March 13, 2008. The team signed Kyle Lohse today. I'm betting Joe Pettini will be looking for a new number. Kyle wore #49 in Minnesota before taking #28 and #37 last year in Cincinnati and Philadelphia. Pettini, you'll recall, gave his #24 to Rick Ankiel last season and adopted Rick's old #49.

March 18, 2008. The O'Cardinals (MacCardinals?) broke out the green jerseys and caps for St. Patrick's Day once again. It appears the shirt is identical to the BP jerseys except, of course, they're green instead of red. And the caps have adjustable backs with the New Era logo on the side... Albert shattered one of his Gwynn-finished Marucci bats during the St. Patty's game... I still don't have a clue what number Lohse is wearing. The team Web site has not updated the roster, and the only photos I've seen of Lohse in uniform show him wearing a BP shirt sans name and number.

March 21, 2008. It's been more than a week since the Cards signed Kyle Lohse, and still he has not been assigned a uniform number on the team's Web site. However, thanks to one of our readers who was in Jupiter, I've been told Lohse is wearing #26, vacated recently by Scott Spiezio.

March 25, 2008. Finally had a chance to watch Sunday's televised game (at least most of it, until the DVR recording stopped) and saw something very interesting. When Jose Martinez batted in the 9th inning, he was wearing #95 and didn' have a name on the back. But, that wasn't the most jarring observation. A closeup from the front showed he was wearing a jersey with the "high second button" style. The team hasn't worn such a shirt since spring training -- 2003! The first Majestic jerseys made for the Cards had the top two buttons close together. That changed by opening day '03 when the second button moved down to its customary location. Man, talk about recycling... Also saw a #94 running around with no NOB. Not sure if that was Luke Gregerson (who pinch ran for Yadi in the 9th) or Matt Scherer. The recording stopped before I could get an answer... Rico Washington was using an Akadema bat. That's the first time I've seen a Cardinals player use that brand.

March 27, 2008. More "nameless" players participated in Wednesday's televised game. Jon Jay, wearing #89, pinch hit and played left field. And Donovan Solano, wearing #94, played second base. You'll recall that #94 was worn Sunday by Luke Gregorson; I was able to confirm that by reviewing the game on MLB.com. So, apparently, those high-numbered shirts are left nameless so they can be passed from player to player, depending on who is selected to play in a particular game... Jay's #89 was assigned to Nick Stavinoha earlier this spring... I also noticed a #96 sitting in the bullpen... Rick Ankiel has been using a natural ash Louisville Slugger in recent games. I didn't notice until yesterday that it's not an Ankiel model, but a generic team bat. And the only reason I noticed was because he seemed to be batting label down, making the markings readable. Unusual... Derrick Goold reports that Brian Barton will wear #54 and Kyle McClellan will wear #46 when the team comes north. Those digits were worn this spring by Dewon Brazelton and John Wasdin respectively.