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The last bench spot

It looks like it's going to be offense vs. defense for the last spot on the Cardinals' regular season roster.





Nick Stavinoha and Joe Mather are fighting it out for a bench spot. Stavinoha leads all Cardinals hitters who have at least 20 spring at bats with a .366 batting average and continues to hit line drives all over the place. But Mather, who offers more defensive versatility including the ability to play centerfield, stood out Wednesday. He fielded a solid hit up the middle with a runner on second and made a perfect throw to peg the runner at the plate.





Mather, who is hitting .227 for the spring, may offer more power than Stavinoha, But he's a tall beanpole with a loopy swing who is going to strike out his fair share.





There is some thought that Felipe Lopez could offer some depth -- and a righty bat -- in centerfield. But the fact that manager Tony La Rusa keeps sending Mather out to play there seems to indicate he's not satisfied with the thought of Lopez as the only righty centerfield option.

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