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Losing Scott Rolen

At the Post-Dispatch Derrick Goold has an excellent article about Scott Rolen, The MV3 That Got Away:

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Since those salad days as part of the Cardinals' "MV3," Rolen has been groping for the elite production that once seemed so assured. Rolen had three surgeries on his problematic left shoulder. The shoulder, held together by screws, became a catalyst for friction with manager Tony La Russa in the 2006 playoffs and later the organization... He was on the disabled list again in 2008. Same shoulder. Same injury. Same issues catching up to the fastball, he said.

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With Rolen at a nadir and, in his words, "wide open to change," Hudson suggested he lower his hands at the plate and bring them closer to his body. Rolen's shoulder could no longer handle the swing that Rolen spent 15 years using. Returns on this new approach initially were good. Rolen returned from the DL to slug .532 with four homers in his last 27 games of 2008.

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At the time of the Rolen for Glaus trade—well, I couldn't be for it, but I could see that Rolen and La Russa wouldn't get along and that his shoulder seemed set to only get worse. And it's easy to forget now that the Cardinals won year one of that trade, getting Troy Glaus's best season in years while Rolen again struggled to hit for power and stay on the field. Glaus's contract was more manageable, as well.

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But Glaus missed 2009 while Rolen had a serviceable year—made more serviceable by his glove, as brilliant as ever—and now the Reds are getting a vintage Scott Rolen season. And I'm a little sad about that.