It's certainly not good news for the Cardinals that both of their starting middle infielders are sidelined with oblique injuries. But for shortstop Brendan Ryan, the situation has created an opportunity.

Ryan, expected to be the starting shortstop for Triple-A Memphis this year, has started at both short and second base while the Cards cope with the absence of David Eckstein and Adam Kennedy. He picked up a pair of hits in his first six at-bats, including legging out a tough infield hit on a ball to second base.

"Brendan looks very natural at second, but shortstop is what he plays, so you want to make sure -- I don't want to set him back in this camp because he's not getting playing time at his position," said manager Tony La Russa.

Ryan missed the majority of the 2006 season after sustaining a wrist injury in Spring Training. He climbed from short-season State College all the way to Triple-A Memphis in a 28-game return to activity. For his career, Ryan is a .303 hitter in 278 Minor League games.

On the move: Right-hander Kelvin Jimenez has caught the attention of La Russa. The skipper noted that Jimenez's command has been very good in workouts and in his first game appearance. Jimenez faces a tough road to make it into a crowded bullpen, but any good impression with the manager helps.

On the pine: Outfielder Cody Haerther is sidelined with a sprained right wrist that has not responded to treatment. He will undergo an MRI on Monday and has yet to play in a game.

Names in the game: Minor Leaguers report to camp in Jupiter this week, meaning that many of the coaches and instructors who have been working with the big leaguers will head across the complex. One man who will be helping out with the kids is former Cards pitcher Alan Benes. After years of battling injuries, Benes hung it up and took a job that will combine scouting, coaching and front-office work as a special assistant to general manager Walt Jocketty.

They're No. 1: Outfielder Colby Rasmus, the No. 1 pick in 2005, got his first hit of the spring on Saturday against the Marlins. Miguel Negron, a former No. 1 pick of the Blue Jays, entered Sunday's action 0-for-7, but has looked good in the field and has drawn three walks.

Class of '06: None of the Cardinals' 2006 draft picks are in big-league camp.

Stat machine: Reliever Mike Sillman has not allowed a run in two appearances. Right-hander Blake Hawksworth pitched two strong innings in his spring debut, allowing a hit and a walk but no runs. Rick Ankiel entered Sunday's game as the Cardinals' leader in Grapefruit League RBIs with three.

What they're saying: "He's got a good changeup. He's got a pretty good breaking ball. Yeah, he's kind of an interesting guy, but I think he's a little ways away from being somebody you're really looking seriously at." -- pitching coach Dave Duncan, on Hawksworth