Cardinal's Remember Vestavia's Josh Hancock

SportsBaseballDeathMilwaukee BrewersNew York MetsScott SpiezioAtlanta Braves

 MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A day after the death of Josh Hancock, the St.
Louis Cardinals tried to move on. They had a game to play.
   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.

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