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What's in a number? Cardinals assign jerseys on eve of camp

With less than a week until pitchers and catches officially report to spring training -- several Cardinals players are actually already working out in Jupiter -- the team has passed out uniform numbers.

There are some changes for players who have been around for a while -- and the new guys have received their digits, too.

The holdover who suffered the greatest numeric indignancy was catcher Bryan Anderson who went from 16 when he made his major league debut two years ago to a spring training invitee sort of number, 61. The reason for the swap was the request of new reliever J.C Romero to wear 16. Anderson, who has 35 major league plate appearances under his belt, had to give way to the veteran Romero who has pitched in 664 games over 13 major league seasons.

I'm not sure what the odds are of infielder Matt Carpenter catching on with the big league club. But he's getting a lot more respect in the number department. Last season he wore number 92 as a non-roster invitee to spring training and he made the front office at least think about bringing him to St. Louis with an average of well over .300 for most of the spring. Despite the fact that he fared poorly in the minors in 2011, he was upgraded to 37 for spring training 2012.

Slugging first base prospect Mark Hamilto wore 64 in 2011 spring training. During this Grapefruit League campaign he'll wear 38.

Adron Chambers came to 2011 camp wearing 87. He'll keep the 56 jersey that he wore last season during a September call-up, 56.

Shortstop prospect Pete Kozma reported last spring to find 88 in his Roger Dean Stadium locker. This time around he'll wear 47.

Rule 5 draft pick Erik Komatsu has been assigned number 82. Outfield prospect Shane Robinson moved up in the world from 63 in 2011 spring training to 43 this time around. Lance Lynn, who wore 70 in camp last year, will keep the 62 that he wore in the 2011 World Series. Last season Cardinals top prospect Shelby Miller wore 71 to camp. That number will likely be assigned to newly acquired reliever Scott Linebrink who has worn it as well as several other numbers unavailable with the Redbirds. Miller is still assigned 71, but, as he nears the majors, I'm guessing his number will move up in the world.

Second base prospect Kolten Wong will wear 89.

As far as the free agent additions to the team, Carlos Beltran will switch from 15 for the first time in his career and wil don number 3 for St. Louis. Alex Cora has picked up number 13. Catcher Koyie Hill has been assigned number 44 -- at least until Roy Oswalt decides he wants to pitch in St. Louis for a little less than he could get to play for the Red Sox. Eugenio Velez has been assigned 8, which means that Allen Craig will keep 21. He wore 8 as a rookie but switched before camp broke to the higher number he wore in the season.

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