According to the Cardinals, shortstop Brendan Ryan will be unable to start hitting for three to six weeks. But the team believes there is a two out of three chance that he will be ready to go by the start of the season.
The things that members of the front office are saying make it pretty clear that team leaders aren't very happy with Ryan for waiting until the end of the winter to decide on surgery for a wrist problem that has bothered him for three years. Fortunately for him, the Redbirds don't seem to have a lot of other options at shortstop, so his job is probably pretty secure.
Longtime minor leaguer Tyler Greene has never hit well enough to make a legitimate claim that he could be a major league starter. And highly paid reserve Julio Lugo has regressed in his defensive abilities over the years. He also seems to hit better when he is used on a part-time basis than when he plays everyday.
Still, Ryan isn't far removed from manager Tony La Russa's doghouse. He needs to get on the stick as soon as he is able to play and prove that he is beyond the flakiness that prevented the Birds from taking him seriously earlier in his career. Ryan is a major part of the Cardinals' plans in 2010 and beyond. He needs to keep it that way.