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03/06/09 4:48 PM ET

Reyes signing puts squeeze on lefties

La Russa: Not many spots remain in Cardinals' bullpen

JUPITER, Fla. -- By manager Tony La Russa's math, the opportunity for Royce Ring, Charlie Manning, Ian Ostlund and Katsuhiko Maekawa has been cut by about two-thirds. The real number may be even more drastic.

St. Louis signed lefty Dennys Reyes to a two-year deal on Thursday, locking up a second left-hander for the bullpen. Trever Miller came to camp with one job locked down. The Cards began Spring Training with the four above-mentioned lefties in a derby for the second spot, but now that job is taken. La Russa asserted Friday that it's possible St. Louis could take three left-handers into the regular season, but the odds would seem to be slim.

"[Reyes] just got a two-year contract," La Russa said. "I would think they think that we believe he's going to be on the team. But ... we have that [last] spot. It could go to a third left-hander, or it could go to a right-hander. If somebody wants a gift of a spot on the roster, that's not the kind of guy you want on the club. You have to earn it. It just goes from two spots open -- one spot open and one maybe -- to one maybe."

Also set in the St. Louis bullpen are Ryan Franklin and, almost certainly, Josh Kinney and Kyle McClellan. Either Chris Perez or Jason Motte are very to make the roster, and they might both be on. If they are, that's 12 pitchers (counting the five starters). If the Cardinals choose to take a long reliever, such as Brad Thompson, that also sews up the last spot.

So while officially one "maybe" remains open, it's going to be difficult for any lefty besides Miller and Reyes to make the club.

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.