It was pretty much a given that Scott Rolen would get Thursday off after playing all 19 innings in the Reds’ loss to the Phillies on Wednesday, so it was no surprise to see Miguel Cairo in the lineup for the series finale. What did turn some heads was that the 37-year-old Cairo not only filled in for Rolen defensively, but he took his spot in the batting order and hit cleanup for just the second time in his career.
And it turned out OK.
Cairo, who had started just one game in two weeks, went 3-for-4 with two doubles and two runs scored in the 10-4 loss to the Phillies. He had as many extra-base hits today as he did in his previous 70 at-bats this season.
Cairo’s other appearance in the cleanup spot came eight years ago for the Cardinals in a 2-1 loss to the Astros. Coincidently, he hit one spot ahead of Rolen in that game. With Albert Pujols out due to a sore hamstring and Jim Edmonds nursing a calf injury, manager Tony La Russa opted to bat Orlando Palmeiro third and Cairo fourth.
Of course, Cairo didn’t quite measure up to his counterpart, Lance Berkman, in that one. Nor could he have been expected to match bombs with Ryan Howard today. Cairo has averaged a homer every 110 at-bats during his career, and his career high for homers is six, established with the Yankees in 2004. Howard homers once every 13 at-bats.
Major League Baseball told Kolten Wong to ditch Hawaii tribute sleeve
Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Major League Baseball has told Cardinals infielder Kolten Wong that he has to get rid of the colorful arm sleeve he’s been wearing, pictured above, that pays tribute to his native Hawaii and seeks to raise awareness of recovery efforts from the destruction caused by the erupting Mount Kilauea.
[Wong] has been notified by Major League Baseball that he will face a fine if he continues to wear an unapproved sleeve that features Hawaiian emblem. Wong said he will stash the sleeve, like Jose Martinez had to do with his Venezuelan-flag sleeve, and find other ways to call attention to his home island.
None of these guys are being singled out, it seems. Rather, this is all part of a wider sweep Major League Baseball is making with respect to the uniformity of uniforms. As Goold notes at the end of his piece, however, MLB has no problem whatsoever with players wearing a non-uniform article of underclothing as long as it’s from an MLB corporate sponsor. Such as this sleeve worn by Marcell Ozuna, supplied by Nike that, last I checked, was not in keeping with the traditional St. Louis Cardinals livery:
If Nike was trying to get people to buy Hawaii or Venezuela compression sleeves I’m sure there would be no issue here. They’re not, however, and it seems like creating awareness and support for people suffering from natural, political and humanitarian disasters does not impress the powers that be nearly as much.