La Russa says Holliday won’t move for Berkman

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Tony La Russa quickly put Matt Holliday’s concerns to rest.

Holliday said at the St. Louis Cardinals’ winter warmup Sunday he’d play wherever the team needed him, but wanted to know by spring training so he’d have enough time to adjust to a position switch. He assumed he’d be in left field and newly acquired Lance Berkman would be in right, but said he’d be willing to move.

“Yeah, I’d like to know, I think just for repetitions sake,” Holliday said.

At his own news conference later in the day, La Russa said Holliday is his left fielder, period. And Berkman would get the job done in right.

“Lance will make the routine play out there, there’s no doubt in my mind,” the manager said. “That’s where he’s going to play, and Matt doesn’t have to make a change.”

La Russa said Holliday first made the offer to switch positions at the trade deadline last season, if the Cardinals were able to swing a deal.

Berkman, who’ll be 35 next month, has been primarily a first baseman the last four years but has dropped 20 pounds in preparation for a return to the outfield.

La Russa dismisses the perception the Cardinals are making a concession defensively to get Berkman’s bat in the lineup.

“We’re not giving up the routine play, that’s what you worry about,” La Russa said. “He’s got a hell of a bat and he’s going to be an average, at least, outfielder.

“I don’t feel like we’re conceding anything.”

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