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Batista another piece of the La Russa puzzle

Cardinals pitcher Miguel Batista may be 40 years old and on the downside of a long major league career.

But in a Tony La Russa-driven off-season makeover, Batista is another gamer who will give the Redbirds more grit and edge.

Batista reminds me a lot of former Cardinals reliever Julian Tavarez. He's one of those guys that the opposition just hates to face because he's willing to do just about anything to get an out -- or to help his team in other ways. I know I didn't care for him during some of his previous National League stops.

Could this clip of a run-in with Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips have something to do with the Redbirds' decision to sign Batista?

But what a difference a change of uniforms makes.

He's not the durable starter he once was. But Bautista is a warrior who La Russa can count on to come into tough situations and get a few outs.