No, the Cardinals aren’t trying to change Colby Rasmus. But his father is taking shots at the organization…


“Not satisfied with the current product, the Cardinals are trying to change center fielder Colby Rasmus.”

That’s how I headlined my piece Thursday night — a piece that detailed a new contact-oriented hitting approach for the young Cardinals outfielder with direct quotes from his father, Tony Rasmus.

After a bit of digging I learned that the comments were made in a tongue-in-cheek manner, meant as a joke for bloggers and message board types that are prone to jump on any kind of juicy bait.  I jumped.  I bit.  Whatever.

The comments were indeed made by Rasmus’ father — that has been confirmed — and I had no way of knowing they were meant facetiously.

That’s not the end of the story, though.  Far from it.

Here is one of Tony Rasmus’ more revealing comments from the original story on Brian Walton’s The Cardinal Nation Blog:

“I’m curious to see this new hitting style at work. What they’re telling me is Colby most likely won’t hit 10 jacks this year but will be more consistent. I’m told that he will look alot like Jon Jay without all the pre swing motion. More like the Skip Schumaker and Jay stuff to left field. IT will be curious to watch.”

This isn’t light humor.  What we have here is the father of a prominent Cardinals player publicly mocking the organization on a message board.  Tony Rasmus jokingly said that manager Tony La Russa and hitting coach Mark McGwire are attempting to turn his son into more of a Skip Schumaker-type batter.

To be more like Skip,” is exactly how the elder Rasmus put it later in his diatribe.  Anyone with a baseball almanac or a desktop computer knows that Schumaker is one of the least productive regulars in the game of baseball.  Tony Rasmus is well aware of that fact and was taking a shot at the Cardinals’ braintrust.

La Russa has talked frequently about pushing Colby to use his legs more on the basepaths and to drive balls gap-to-gap rather than shooting for the fences.  Tony Rasmus, high school baseball coach and overbearing parent, clearly disagrees with that strategy and made a mockery of it on a Cardinals-centric internet forum with about five paragraphs of tongue-in-cheek commentary.  It was meant to reach a lot of eyes, with the St. Louis front office included.

Cardinals fans were appalled Thursday when the “new hitting approach” story came out.  Why are they putting a leash on one of baseball’s best young hitters?  They’re turning Colby into Juan Pierre!

The story isn’t true.  If there’s a leash, it’s not all that tight.  And Rasmus certainly isn’t being asked to stay out of the weight room.

But what’s worse?  The Cardinals asking a young power hitter to become more contact-happy or that power hitter’s father taking public jabs at the hitting philosophies of his son’s big league ball club?  Remember, Colby has made more than one trade request in the last two years.

You think someone — a parent, perhaps — might be in his ear?

Clayton Kershaw completes spring training with a 0.00 ERA

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Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.

In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.

The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.

The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.