JUPITER, Fla. -- Infielders and outfielders only formally began working out on Saturday, and already manager Tony La Russa is fielding lineup questions.
Three spots in La Russa's regular lineup appear pretty much set for the time being. Albert Pujols is going to hit third. Matt Holliday will bat cleanup. For now, La Russa is committed to Lance Berkman hitting in the fifth spot, and there's virtually no way that Yadier Molina or David Freese will hit in the top two positions. That still leaves three regulars with irregular, or at least, undetermined batting order positions.
Either Ryan Theriot or Skip Schumaker will bat leadoff, with the other likely either hitting second or at the bottom of the order. Colby Rasmus, meanwhile, could hit second or sixth.
In fact, Rasmus is probably the biggest variable. If he makes the most sense in the No. 2 spot, that would presumably bump Theriot or Schumaker to the No. 8 hole (or ninth, if La Russa were to decide to return his pitcher to the eighth spot).
"I think a lot of Colby early in the lineup would have to do with his being more consistent with his strike zone," La Russa said. "He has periods where his strike zone is really good and he takes his walks and if you throw him a strike, he bangs it. He's in his third year, and I think you're going to see an improvement. But he's one of those talents, you can hit him anywhere."
Jay gets No. 15 thanks to Edmonds' retirement
JUPITER, Fla. -- It took fewer than 24 hours for Jon Jay to get his number back.
Jay wore No. 15 last year as a member of the Cardinals. However, when the club announced that Jim Edmonds would be returning to the club on a Minor League deal, Jay surrendered Edmonds' famous uniform number. Jay expressed interest in No. 19, but Ramon Vazquez took that one, so Jay ended up with No. 22.
Once Edmonds announced his retirement, though, the wheels went in motion quickly. Jay wore No. 15 on Saturday, his first day on the field after the Cardinals announced that Edmonds would not be coming to camp.
Then again, a uniform number may not be the main benefit to Jay. With Edmonds out of the competition for a roster spot, Jay's chances of making the club for Opening Day can only improve.
La Russa sees coaching in Edmonds' future
JUPITER, Fla. -- A day after Jim Edmonds made his retirement official, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa remembered Edmonds fondly, and said that his dust-ups with Edmonds were overblown.
"He's a good example of how much attention you give when there's maybe an issue, real or pretend, and you miss the reality of really what's happening," La Russa said. "He played to that because he would say that he got 'called to the principal's office.' But I'm talking about eight years of a lot of good times. Once in a while, because he would stray off the road a little bit, you catch him before he goes in the ditch. He was an outstanding teammate."
La Russa also said that he believes Edmonds will end up coaching in the Major Leagues at some point, or at least serve as a Spring Training special instructor.
"I will bet that he will return as a coach, even if it's just to show up for Spring Training for 10 days or two weeks," La Russa said. "Because he's going to miss [it], and he knows he's got a lot to offer. He's going to watch and say, 'You know, I could help that guy.' There's no doubt in my mind. He may be stubborn, and it may be a year or two later that he does it, but I know how smart he was about how he played."
According to the manager, the Cardinals actually put out feelers to Edmonds about serving in that capacity this spring, before Edmonds decided that he wanted to play. La Russa did not rule out Edmonds still coming down this spring to help out on the coaching side.
JUPITER, Fla. -- Manager Tony La Russa said Saturday that the club retains interest in a right-handed-hitting center fielder to back up Colby Rasmus. ... Cardinals pitchers are scheduled to begin facing hitters on Sunday. Until now they have only thrown bullpen sessions. ... The annual "Arti Gras" art festival began on Saturday. The festival takes place on the street nearest the Cardinals' complex at Roger Dean Stadium. ... With the exception of Jim Edmonds, who retired on Friday, all Cardinals players were in camp on time for Saturday's first full-squad workout.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.