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Balls & Strikes Mailbag: What happens when Berkman comes back?

Posted Friday, May 4, 2012, at 3:42 PM

By COREY NOLES

Normally on Mailbag day, I answer several questions, but this week I received a question that deserved a bit more attention to do it justice.

Corey,

Lance Berkman and Allen Craig are coming back from the DL very soon meaning moves are going to have to be made on the bench to accommodate them. What do you think would be the best move for the club and why? Personally, I think that moving Robinson down and letting Komatsu go back to the Nationals would be best. Just wanted your opinion. Thanks.

Wes S.

Sikeston, MO

(Question received the day before Craig was recalled)

Hey there, Wes. I know that since I received this question Craig has returned, but it's still worth addressing. I agree with you about Komatsu and I think they made the right call in designating him for assignment. If he clears waivers, and I doubt he will, he could still be picked back up by the Cardinals, but it would require a trade. I'm not sure they would be willing to go that route to hang on to him. In St. Louis, his best shot is as a fifth outfielder. I appreciate his speed, but if the choice is between him, Robinson and Matt Carpenter, he's the easy choice. A return by Berkman is when things will get interesting.

First, here is some information on each player:

Matt Carpenter is hitting .288 with 14 RBIs and one homerun. So far, overall, he is 19 for 66 with 14 strikeouts and an OPS of .847.

Shane Robinson is hitting .394 with five RBIs and one homerun. He's currently 13 for 33 with 5 strikeouts and a .990 OPS.

While at first glance some might suggest keeping Robinson in St. Louis, my preference is for Carpenter.

1. Carpenter has shown far better patience at the plate. He has a few more strikeouts, but he also puts up good quality at bats getting deep counts.

2. Carpenter can play anywhere on the infield. He knows all four corner positions, outfield and even shortstop. Having that many tools means he will get a lot of play time here as they give other guys rest. He has a very impressive work ethic and I think will develop into a solid player.

3. Robinson has potential as a utility guy, but defensively needs some more time to hone his skills because he's not as skilled as Carpenter with the glove. Of course, at 28, he's getting a bit old to still be a prospect. There are young guys in the system who will be coming up over the next two seasons who will really push him to the back burner.

The one advantage to Berkman's return from the DL likely being pushed back, is that we have more time to watch both of them and get a better idea of what they each are capable of doing. There's a good chance that, by the time Berkman returns, this question will most likely answer itself. Then again, it's been said that he could possibly be back this weekend, so we'll just have to wait and see.

Thanks for reading, CN

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The contest question for this week is: Who was the first Cardinal to hit 50 homeruns in a season?

One randomly selected winner of all correct entries will receive a copy of the A+E Networks Home Entertainment/MLB Productions "2011 World Series Highlights" DVD. The video features tons of great footage from the entire World Series and also has a bonus disc that includes Game 5 of the NLDS between Chris Carpenter and Roy Halladay. A must watch for any true fan.

Enter before next Thursday, May 10, 2012 at noon to be eligible

Answers may be submitted as comments on this specific blog post, via the mailbag forum on the blog at dailystatesman.com/blogs/coreynoles , via email to cnoles@dailystatesman.com as well as by stopping in The Daily Statesman office at 133 S. Walnut in Dexter. Make sure to include your name, address, telephone # and email address. Make sure I know a reliable way to contact you. If I don't receive a response within 24 hours after I attempt to contact you, I will have to draw another winner.

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To submit a question for the Balls & Strikes Mailbag, either e-mail cnoles@dailystatesman.com , call (573)624-4545 or fill out the form at dailystatesman.com/blogs/coreynoles/

Follow him on Twitter @coreynoles-



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Corey Noles, staff writer for The Daily Statesman and Editor of The North Stoddard Countian, is the author of a regular baseball/St. Louis Cardinals column and also uses his blog to sound off on various happenings in sports. He also operates a weekly baseball mailbag column.

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