With the starting eight all but locked in to open the season for the St. Louis Cardinals one of the more interesting storylines to watch in Spring Training will be the battle for back-up infielder. Gone are Daniel Descalso and Mark Ellis, but Dean Anna is looking to compete with the likes of Greg Garcia, Ty Kelly, and Pete Kozma for a spot on the 25-man roster.

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“I just want to make sure that I’m versatile for Matheny and that’s kind of where we start,” said Anna. “You’ve just got to compete against yourself. It’s not really about competing against the other guys or not. If my name gets called, I just want to go in and do my job.”

1-18-15 Dean AnnaBoth middle infield spots, third base, outfield–and even pitcher are on Anna’s resume that also boasts a Pacific Coast League batting title in 2013.

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“I don’t want to actually say I’m going to hit .330,” said Anna, who saw his average fall to .207 last season. “I didn’t hit that well–because you’re trying to hit .330 like I did that one year. I think I learned a lot last year that you’ve got to really just take it day-by-day like I when won that batting title, I took it day-by-day. Last year was not that great of a year, but I learned a lot so it was good.”

Anna began last season by making his Major League debut with the New York Yankees on April 4th. After starting the game 0-3, he walked and then singled into left field. He played in just 11 more games before being sent back to Triple-A at the end of the month but still carries the experience of playing in the big leagues–and with Derek Jeter.

“I just remember he’s so competitive,” shared Anna of his time alongside the future Hall of Famer. “I’m out at short with him everyday and he’s taking ground balls with me. He’s hitting and he sees me, if I bobble a ball, he’s  calling me out on it. It was just fun being with him and just a competitive guy. It was good.”

photo credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports


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