Campana gets chance to pester Cards

CHICAGO – Tony Campana’s ability to wreak havoc on the bases is well known. His ability to show some good at-bats since being recalled this weekend is getting him some playing time.

Campana got the start in center field Tuesday and batted out of the No. 2 spot in the lineup as manager Dale Sveum hopes to get even more from his sparkplug.

“You get him in with the right pitchers so you probably need to stay maybe away from velocity guys or whatever,” Sveum said. “Guys that are going to keep the ball on the ground, the guys that are a little slower to the plate, you have to find ways to get that kind of speed in there, things that disrupt pitchers.”

Campana started the season at Triple-A Iowa, so he hasn’t been here for most of the time the major league offense has been stagnant. But his three hits in five at-bats and steals of second and third base after getting aboard Monday night have provided an electric element not present over the first two weeks.

“I know what my job is and it’s to get on base whether that’s starting or coming off the bench,” Campana said. “My job is to have that spark and to get on base where those guys behind me can drive me in so we can score some runs. Hopefully I can steal a bag or two to get in position where I can do that.”

The speed element has definitely been missing from the offense in the early going, but it isn’t as if Campana’s presence will suddenly change the club’s fortunes. As dynamic as his game can be, he still needs help from others in order to score runs.

So even though the offense has looked a little better in recent days, Campana wasn’t about to take the credit.

“I think park of it is guys have started to swing the bat and started missing the gloves of everybody else [on defense], he said. “That’s definitely part of it that has nothing to do with me. It’s just guys hitting the ball a little better. I’m just going about doing my job and getting on base.”

The reality is that the two go hand in hand which is where Campana’s ability to cause nightmares for the opposing pitcher comes into play.

“I like to get reactions out of the pitcher,” he said. “I like to see how many reactions I can get out of people whether I’m on first or third or wherever. I like to get reactions out of pitchers because I think if they’re thinking about me maybe they’ll leave a fastball over the middle plate for the guy hitting.”