Bird Doggin’: Cardinals in the 2009 WBC

Official WBC rosters came out last week and a handful of N.L. Central players made their country’s respective cut. Midwest Swing takes a deeper look into the lives of N.L. Central players battling for world supremacy.

Raise your hand if you can ID anyone representing the Cardinals in the World Baseball Classic outside of Yadier Molina … LIARS. But seriously, the Redbirds lack of star power in baseball’s version of the Geneva Conference is apparent. Albert Pujols has insurance issues that won’t cover him if he re-aggravates his elbow. And Ryan Ludwick and Joel Piniero sipped on some cosmos and decided if they don’t start, that their respective teams can stuff it. Diva, much?

Yadier Molina, Puerto Rico – C
2008 stats: He batted .304 with 7 HR’s and 56 RBI in 2008 (124 games); threw out 55 runners in 2008
Just how native is he- He lives in Puerto Rico during the offseason and Caseyville, Illinois during the season (safe to say that Caseyville saps all the foreign street cred out of him during the season so he’s probably off and on).
Fun fact: Youngest of Molina brothers who all play catcher in MLB (Bengie and Jose are the oldest); all three have WS rings; it’s as if they saw what happens when you attach the name “Stoudamaire” to a basketball player.

Arquimedes Nieto, Panama – SP
2008 stats: Went 6-1 with 2.95 ERA for Batavia Muckdogs in 2008
Fun fact: At 19 years old, he is the second youngest member of Panama team. If anyone doubts this, send thank you cards to Tejada, Miguel.

Adam Ottavino, Italy – SP
2008 stats: Went 3-7 with 1.60 ERA in AA Springfield (first round draft pick of Cardinals in 2006; 30th overall)
Just how native is he? He was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY but chose to compete for Italy; so he’s dead to us here in America.

Curt Smith, Netherlands – 1B
2008 stats: Smith batted .403 for the University of Maine in 2008 leading American East Conference in average and had 11 HRs.
Just how native is he? He was born in Netherlands..and since I can’t name five Dutch baseball players, that should tell you how slim the pickings might be … rock on, Curt Smith.

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