Tony La Russa Still Loves Colby Rasmus

There has been a long-running saga surrounding the St. Louis Cardinals’ top prospect, outfielder Colby Rasmus, at least since last spring training. The youngster played very well then, as did his left-handed hitting competitors on the roster, especially Skip Schumaker. The latter made the team instead of Rasmus.

Rasmus was apparently disillusioned because he believed he had done all that was asked of him to make the club, yet did not. This all comes from the talented player’s dad, Tony, who frequents the message board. The outfielder went into a funk on the field, was injured and his 2008 season went down the drain before he knew it.

The elder Rasmus (and/or those close to him) have been stating in print for months that Colby will not make the Cardinals until September, 2009 and attributes that to manager Tony La Russa and the personnel currently on the roster. A not-so-subtle message board campaign to increase awareness of a wish that the top prospect would be traded so he could become the 2009 Rookie of the Year elsewhere has ensued.

La Russa granted an extensive interview at Baseball’s Winter Meetings, where he expressed admiration for the player’s abilities, while also noting that he has others also very capable of starting in the big league outfield. The theme was why the club is looking to trade outfielders to both address other needs and open spots up.

Here are several of the skipper’s comments. Head on over to to read the rest of this extensive interview.

Whether Rasmus could shuttle between Memphis and St. Louis:I mean, I would hope — this guy, because he has a chance to be a very special package, you would try to avoid that. You’d avoid disrupting a guy, either send him to AAA, send him to the big leagues and not do that to him if you can help it.”

Whether Rasmus could be a lead-off man:I think he’s a unique, remarkable kind of talent from what I saw in spring training. I saw he had a good strike zone, and when he got the ball — he’s shown it. He got some home runs, he runs really well. I probably would prefer him at the top of the lineup.”