Found February 15, 2012 on Fox Sports Midwest:
Mlb-all-star-game
ST. LOUIS - Fifteen years after a feud with manager Tony La Russa contributed to his retirement, Cardinals hall of fame shortstop Ozzie Smith will return to the field as a guest instructor with the club during Spring Training. Smith accepted an invitation from new manager Mike Matheny to join the club in uniform this spring, something he hasn't done since he retired following the 1996 season. The 13-time Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner is scheduled to visit the Cardinals' Spring Training complex at Roger Dean Stadium the first week of March and stay about four or five days. "I think the tide has turned here and things are hopefully back to where they should be," Smith said. "I'm looking forward to spending some time down there." The source of the strained relationship between Smith and La Russa occurred in 1996, when La Russa took over as Cardinals manager and announced an open competition at shortstop between the incumbent Smith and Royce Clayton, who the club acquired during the offseason. The 41-year-old Smith appeared to clearly win the competition, hitting almost .100 points higher than Clayton in Spring Training and committing no errors compared to Clayton's eight errors. But it was Clayton who saw most of the playing time in the regular season, prompting Smith to announce midway through the season that he would retire at the end of the year. Smith has returned to Busch Stadium to be honored at events such as Opening Day and during the playoffs with the other Cardinals' Hall of Famers. But unlike Lou Brock and Bob Gibson, Smith's sour relationship with La Russa kept him from any official duties with the club such as appearing at spring training. With La Russa enjoying his retirement, Smith will be one of several former prominent members of the Cardinals organization to make appearances in Jupiter at some point this spring. "One of the things that Mike mentioned was giving the players the opportunity to sit down and talk to people like myself which I am more than willing to do," Smith said. "I am kind of letting Mike drive this train and whatever he needs me to do, which is one o the things I always wanted to do. It should have been a natural transition, unfortunately it wasn't, but now it gives me the opportunity to do that. "There's no secret formula. It's the basics. You have to throw it, you have to hit it, you have to run and you have to catch it and if you do those things consistently you have a good chance of winning and if you don't, your chances of winning are diminished." A complete list of guest instructors is scheduled to be released in the coming days. Among those likely to attend will be Hall of Fame manager Whitey Herzog, who also hasn't appeared in an official role with the club since La Russa arrived in St. Louis. Smith, 57, was a 15-time All-Star during his 19-year career with the San Diego Padres and Cardinals. He played 15 seasons with the Cardinals from 1982-96, leading them to three National League pennants and the 1982 World Series title. "The one thing I don't want to do is make people thing I am going to come in with some secret formula or something of that nature," Smith said. "It's just being able to give back and hopefully help the guys from a confidence standpoint and make sure they are confident enough to know they can go back and do what they did last year. "These guys know what their job is and they did it very well last year so for people like myself and the Whitey Herzog's and all of those people, is just really about reinforcing what they've already done and allowing them to go out and do that again." Smith said he hasn't talked with the Cardinals about a spot with the organization in the future but would be open to continuing his coaching with members of their minor league teams during the season. But for now, Smith and the Cardinals will enjoy a sweet reunion that likely should have happened several years ago. "I'll get myself reacclimated with being around, but I don't want to hang around too much," Smith joked. "I don't want people to get tired of me. "I'm open to all things as I've said all along. I've never been opposed to being that type of person for this organization and it's one of the things I've missed." The Cardinals and their fans have missed it, too.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Motte remains focused on helping team win

ST. LOUIS - New Cardinals manager Mike Matheny has no problem doing what former skipper Tony La Russa refrained from. Yes, Jason Motte is indeed the closer. "Jason has certainly positioned himself as we head into Spring Training as the closer," Matheny said. Tell that to Motte and he'll joke back with, "Watch your mouth." The mini-controversy was a source...

Molina sees business side after Pujols leaves

Now that Albert Pujols has gone to the Los Angeles Angels, catcher Yadier Molina is the longest tenured position player on the Cardinals. With his contract up at the end of the season, Molina could move on, too. Molina said he loved St. Louis but the Pujols offseason departure showed him a different side of baseball. "We've been through a lot of the same things together...

Fresh start for Swagerty in Minors

Any lingering uncertainty regarding Jordan Swagerty's role in the Cardinals' Minor League system can be put to rest, as Cardinals farm director John Vuch confirmed that Swagerty will return to the starting rotation in 2012.

Cardinals intend to keep Jackson at shortstop

Though Ryan Jackson's time in the Arizona Fall League was spent jumping around on defense, the Cardinals intend to continue prioritizing work at shortstop for the 23-year-old infielder.

Cards announce television schedule

ST. LOUIS, Mo. The St. Louis Cardinals today announced their television schedule for the 2012 season. FOX Sports Midwest (19th season) is scheduled to carry 150 games in its second full season as the exclusive local TV home of the Cardinals. Ten regular season games are currently scheduled to be carried as part of Major League Baseballs national television packages with FOX (aired...

The Angels tweak the Cardinals again

Over the last few days, word has reached the non-California parts of the world that the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have initiated a new marketing campaign featuring Albert Pujols. That is hardly news in itself. After all, since Halos owner Arte Moreno committed $270 million of his money to bring the first baseman to Anaheim for the next two decades, it only makes sense his organization...

Champion Cardinals ready to be the hunted

In just days, the Cardinals will open camp in Jupiter, Fla., as the hunted. It's their title to defend, their burden to shoulder the corresponding expectations. They'll also congregate under unfamiliar circumstances.

Baseball ProGUESTus: The Ballad of Roy Oswalt by Matthew Kory

Believe it or not, most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball...

How did Cardinals place on national top 100s?

Our analysis of the placement of St. Louis Cardinals prospects on six national top 100 prospect lists, including our own Scout.com rankings, of course.

Tony LaRussa Making Comeback With Detroit Tigers?

Tony LaRussa may have retired as manager of the 2011 World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals, but nobody truly expected him to stay away from the game of baseball entirely. Not yet, at least. LaRussa has been invited by good friend Jim Leyland, manager of the Detroit Tigers, to attend Spring Training in a non-uniform, non-official capacity. That means that anyone hoping...
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.