|Cardinals try to honor late teammate Hancock by moving on|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 30 April 2007 14:54|
But for Scott Spiezio, it was too much to handle. He told manager Tony La Russa to pull him from the starting lineup Monday night.
With Hancock's jersey hanging in the bullpen and Milwaukee fans observing a moment of silence, the Cardinals went back to work, trying to focus on the task at hand.
``It's just one more thing that we have to deal with that people don't want to,'' center fielder Jim Edmonds said. ``But this really doesn't make any sense.''
The Cardinals will wear patches with Hancock's No. 32 on their sleeves for the rest of the season. Pitcher Tyler Johnson held one of Hancock's jerseys during the national anthem and outfielder Preston Wilson draped his arm around teammate So Taguchi's shoulder in the dugout.
La Russa did not open the Cardinals' clubhouse to the media before the game against the Brewers. He warned his players to be wary of the ``insincerity'' of media members who ``have their own agendas.''
``The first time I hear insincerity, man, I'm going to start swinging this fungo,'' he told reporters, resting on a practice bat
The 29-year-old Hancock was killed shortly after midnight Sunday when his SUV struck the rear of a flatbed tow truck on a St. Louis highway. The Cardinals' scheduled home game against Chicago on Sunday night was postponed.
Around the majors, Hancock was remembered.
Atlanta Braves ace Tim Hudson pitched Monday night with the letters ``JH'' ironed onto the left chest of his jersey - Hancock was his former college teammate at Auburn.
The Marlins and Mets also held a moment of silence before their game at Shea Stadium.
``Obviously, everybody's grieving and sad about the loss that we have,'' Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter said. ``Josh was a great player, a great teammate, a great guy in the clubhouse.''
Edmonds and a few others in the Cardinals' clubhouse have experience playing under such difficult circumstances. Nearly five years ago, St. Louis pitcher Darryl Kile was found dead in his Chicago hotel room. Kile died at 33 of a coronary artery blockage.
``Those of us who were here in '02 remember how difficult it was,'' La Russa said. ``But I think the best approach is: There are a lot of people who aren't in professional baseball that suffer family, friends that are lost, have died or hurt seriously in an accident. That kind of suffering and sadness is part of life.''
Jeff Suppan, who helped pitch the Cardinals to the World Series championship last year, started for the Brewers. After Spiezio asked out of the lineup, Skip Schumaker started in right field.
Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan said dealing with Kile's death did not make it any easier to handle Hancock's loss.
``I don't think it helps me,'' Duncan said. ``Maybe understanding you will get through it, it will pass in time. But it never goes away.''
Hancock, who previously had pitched for Boston and Philadelphia, joined the Cardinals in spring training last season. Cincinnati had released him for violating a weight clause in his contract.
``He was trying to prove to everybody that he could get back into shape and be a contributor to this team,'' Edmonds said. ``And he worked really hard, and I give him a lot of credit for the things he went through.''
Edmonds said the team is ``still in shock,'' but was gradually moving on by sharing stories about him.
``He was such a great guy and such a happy guy, just such an original personality as far as a jokester and a competitor and friend,'' Edmonds said. ``You just can't help but think of all the funny things that used to go on in the clubhouse. So guys are trying to pull each other together with some stories - and trying to be professional, and trying to mourn at the same time.''
La Russa praised Hancock for his hard work.
``I respect and miss Josh, and want to honor his memory by competing like he did for us,'' he said.
AP Sports Writers Colin Fly in Milwaukee, R.B. Fallstrom in St. Louis, Paul Newberry in Atlanta and Mike Fitzpatrick in New York contributed to this report.