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Furcal intends to keep 15, he tells Winter Warm-up crowd

We knew some of the Cardinals bit players were going to have an opportunity to become more assertive in the clubhouse now that Albert Pujols is gone.

But I didn't expect it to happen so quickly.

Cardinals shortstop Rafael Furcal, at the team's Winter Warm-up festival this weekend, tried to move up a few spots in the pecking order when he made it clear he has no intention of giving up his uniform number to higher-paid and more experienced outfielder Carlos Beltran.

Beltran has worn 15 exclusively -- except for a while after his initial call-up -- throughout his career. Furcal, who originally wore number one but switched to 15 when he moved from Atlanta to Los Angeles, played the veteran card when he was traded to St. Louis, muscling second-year outfielder Jon Jay. But Furcal said Saturday that -- even though Beltran has one more year in the big leagues than he does, he's not giving up 15.

Furcal said since he was on the World Series winning Cardinals club in 2011, he should get to keep the number he wore that year.

That ought to make a pretty interesting coversation at spring training.