Originally written on Fox Sports Midwest  |  Last updated 10/28/14

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 11: Former MLB player Ozzie Smith and TV personality Kevin Frazier during the MLB All Star Game Celebrity Softball Game at Angels Stadium of Anaheim on July 11, 2010 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)
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.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Red Sox to reportedly target Pablo Sandoval in offseason

Alex Rodriguez's season-long MLB ban comes to an end

Madison Bumgarner pitches Giants to World Series title

Giants fans get rowdy celebrating World Series win

Roy Williams' response to criticism over academic scandal

Jerry Jones challenging Tony Romo to play Sunday?

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Wizards make rapper Wale new 'creative liaison' for team

Report: Joe Maddon to become Cubs manager

Rockets Harden and Ariza visit Julius Randle in the hospital

Dan Gilbert asked if he 'deserved' to have LeBron back

Brady: Maybe at Manning's age I'll be playing that well

Dolphins LB brings kid from stands to field before each game

WATCH: Randle offers money for massage in jailhouse video

Top storyline for each Week 9 NFL game

WATCH: Chevy guy bombs World Series presentation

WATCH: James Ennis throws down dunk of the season

Kris Humphries shares nasty photo of gruesome finger injury

WATCH: Joe Panik makes play of the game in Game 7

Russell Westbrook wears aluminum foil-like outfit

WATCH: Capitals' Chimera suffers nasty broken nose

Robert Griffin III to start against Vikings

WATCH: Navy raps about Notre Dame, set to ‘Anaconda’

Rulon Gardner selling Olympic memorabilia to pay $3.9M debt

Mike Pettine says he ‘can sense’ Johnny Manziel’s frustration

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!

Top storyline for each Week 9 game

Williams' response to criticism

WATCH: Chevy guy totally bombs

Bumgarner pitches Giants to title

Report: Cubs to hire Maddon as manager

Tom Brady talks Peyton Manning

Best Game 7s in World Series history

NFL, MLB spend on mid-term elections

Gurley suspended four games

Gordie Howe suffered stroke

WATCH: Kobe and Dwight get into it

Notre Dame WR will not be punished

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.