Something Brendan Ryan may want to take note of is that a .198 batting average in 238 plate appearances isn't very conducive to keeping a starting job.
The defensive whiz who broke out in 2009 with a .292/.340/.400 line for the Cardinals is floundering this season and has begun losing playing time to Tyler Greene. Greene was recalled to the bigs on July 2 and has since been in the lineup in all three games.
Greene started the first two games against left-handers in place of Skip Schumaker then shifted over to shortstop to displace Ryan against Yovani Gallardo. Greene hit .291/.362/.465 over 289 plate appearances for Triple-A and has a major-league line of .257/.316/.514 in 38 plate appearances which also includes a brief stint in the bigs earlier in the season.
Greene blasted an impressive home run on Friday and then cranked a single and triple Saturday. Although he went hitless Sunday, manager Tony La Russa plans to ride the hot hand of Greene, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch .
"We'll run him out there for a little while," La Russa said. "Whoever plays the best plays the most."
Ryan admitted he feels lost at the plate and La Russa feels he needs a few days off to adjust his approach. The last few days, according to La Russa, Ryan has been hitting the ball in the air inadvertently instead of putting the ball on the ground. That's a signal to the veteran manager that Ryan needs a break.
The Cardinals are second in the NL Central just behind the Reds with a 45-37 record. The success of St. Louis is due to the pitching, which is second in the MLB with a 3.28 ERA, but is only 19th with 340 runs batted in. With Ryan Ludwick on the disabled list and only Albert Pujols contributing with the stick in the infield, the Cards need anything they can get.
St. Louis hasn't really been bandied about as a potential trade destination for several infielders -- most notably Ty Wigginton and Dan Uggla -- but it wouldn't be surprising if the Cards struck for a quality bat who could fill in short term. They can't take on any significant long-term commitments to ensure they have the money to resign Pujols after 2011.
-- Evan Brunell
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