Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Batchelor Gets Taste of Majors Newest Card Fills Magrane's Locker, Not Smith's Shoes

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Batchelor Gets Taste of Majors Newest Card Fills Magrane's Locker, Not Smith's Shoes

Article excerpt

We know a few things about Richard Batchelor, the newest member of the Cardinals' pitching staff.

We know he's 26 years old and saved 25 games at two levels in the New York Yankees' minor-league system this season. That came after he struggled in 1992 at Class AA Albany. His success comes primarily from a forkball and not from what Cardinals manager Joe Torre has heard is an average fastball.

He signed in 1990 with the Yankees as an undrafted free agent - but the Yankees had drafted Batchelor out of high school and the White Sox drafted him in the sixth round after his junior year at the University of South Carolina-Aiken.

We know Batchelor didn't sign then so he could complete his college education. He wears glasses, has a degree in business administration and almost has completed another degree, in biology (pre-optometry focus). We know he inherited Joe Magrane's old locker when he entered the Cardinals' clubhouse for the first time Wednesday.

We know Batchelor was born in South Carolina, still lives in South Carolina and still carries a hint of South Carolina in his speech. We know Batchelor is no bachelor.

We also know that Richard Batchelor probably won't make Cardinals fans forget Lumberin' Lee Arthur Smith, baseball's career saves leader who went to the Yankees late Tuesday night for Batchelor.

The Cardinals don't expect that.

"I told him that right away," Torre said. "The only people he has to satisfy are in that clubhouse."

Batchelor took Torre's words to heart.

"I'm not going to come in and try to fill his shoes; those are some big shoes to fill," Batchelor said.

"It's a little overwhelming, I suppose, thinking about being traded for Lee Smith. But it's overwhelming just being my first time to the big leagues."

He said his roommate with Class AAA Columbus, Russ Davis, congratulated him with the news Tuesday night. Batchelor didn't believe it until he saw word of the trade flash across the television screen.

Batchelor told his wife, Michelle; "I think she's more happy than anyone," he said. …

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