Saturday, August 15, 2009
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Eckstein still resents St. Louis departure

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[August 15, 2009]  ST. LOUIS (AP) -- This is David Eckstein's second trip back to the town where he was a World Series MVP in 2006. Lingering resentment remains over his departure.

The Padres' second baseman wants to have a chat with Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak to clear the air about soured negotiations following the 2007 season. Eckstein got a one-year free agent deal with Toronto after he said the Cardinals never made an offer while spreading rumors he wanted too much money.

Eckstein blamed Mozeliak, while careful not to use his name.

"I just had a problem about the way the one person went about it," Eckstein said before a three-game series in St. Louis. "It was kind of attacking my character and my agent's character. Just tell the truth: You don't want me."

Padres pitcher Chris Young, out since mid-June with shoulder inflammation, will undergo arthroscopic surgery on Monday in San Diego. The procedure could sideline the 6-10 right-hander, 5-6 with a 5.21 ERA, the rest of the season.

"The doctors will go in, have a look and hopefully get a better idea of what's causing his problem," manager Bud Black said. "So far the scans have come back normal."

Eckstein said he might have that long-awaited conversation with Mozeliak this weekend "just to let him know I know the truth, as opposed to what was actually put out there."

"The information went out to the fans who really took me (in) and it made me seem not the person I was. Instead of just saying 'Hey, we don't want you anymore.'"

A call by The Associated Press to Mozeliak was not immediately returned.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said Eckstein is one of the toughest players he's managed, and added he'd be applauding when Eckstein came to bat the first time.

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"He sets the bar," La Russa said. "Remarkable, to be respected, admired. It's not genes, it's a commitment you make."

Eckstein moved from shortstop to second base after leaving St. Louis, which appeared to be a bone of contention in negotiations with the team. He said it's always been his desire to play that position, noting he was a second baseman his entire life until making it to the major leagues. He led major league second basemen with a .997 fielding percentage.

"I love second base, second base has always been my home," Eckstein said. "I don't know how else to say it."

Eckstein is in his first full season with the youthful Padres, who trailed the NL West but had won 11 of their previous 16. He went into the weekend hitting .261 with 38 RBIs.

"We've got a great young club and we've really got things going on," Eckstein said. "It's been a heck of a lot of fun being part of it."

Black said the 34-year-old Eckstein has been a positive influence.

"It's been great managing him," Black said. "I had him when I was a coach at Anaheim and he's been everything I expected."

[Associated Press; By R.B. FALLSTROM]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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