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La Russa Relishes Lineup Challenges, Keeps Forgetting To Mention His Boy Aaron Miles

On the FSN Midwest website B.J. Rains has a word with Tony La Russa about the Cardinals’ sudden (and very, very relative) glut in the middle infield now that Brendan Ryan is hitting.

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But Ryan is hitting .321 since May 20 and has raised his average nearly 50 points as he continues to get himself out of an early season funk. And as Ryan continues to deserve more playing time, La Russa has begun to have trouble picking who will play in his infield each night.

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But according to La Russa, that’s the best kind of problem to have.

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"The more complicated it is, the better it is, right?" La Russa said Wednesday. " It really is the ideal situation. If you have three guys and you really want to play all three but you play two, the guy that sits is getting a mental and physical break, and it’s a long season."

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The solution to this problem, of course, is to utilize Skip Schumaker’s mid-season funk. For the first time in what seems like forever Ryan, a brilliant shortstop, has a higher OPS than Schumaker, an indifferent second baseman. Given Felipe Lopez’s hitting, which is reasonable even as his batting average has fallen to .248, and Felipe Lopez's defense at shortstop, which is terrible, Schumaker seems like the easy odd man out in this rotation; his June is nearly as bad as Brendan Ryan’s nervous mess of a May, which occasioned the rotation in the first place. 

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But the most telling detail in this story, which even goes so far as to discuss the playing time of David Freese—as ingrained a starter as there is on the team—is that neither Tony nor B.J. mention Aaron Miles once.

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I’ve noticed this ever since he made the team: even Tony La Russa, his patron, forgets to mention him when he’s talking about the infield. What is he doing on this team if La Russa has three middle infielders he wants to play every day?