Toronto Blue Jays Spring Training 2012: Colby Rasmus Rejuvenated

Bill Ford@billfordwritesCorrespondent IIIFebruary 26, 2012

TORONTO, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 17:  Colby Rasmus #28 of the Toronto Blue Jays bats during MLB game action against the New York Yankees September 17, 2011 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Brad White/Getty Images)
Brad White/Getty Images

Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Colby Rasmus arrived at spring training camp with an upbeat and positive attitude to begin the 2012 season.

Rasmus had his first spring training workout on Friday and appeared to be refreshed and rejuvenated after a very difficult 2011 season.

He had been with the St. Louis Cardinals since 2009 and was traded to the Blue Jays on July 27, 2011.

Rumors flew that Rasmus had a strained relationship with Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, and that he requested to be traded because La Russa was not giving him much playing time.

He claimed that he never felt comfortable in St. Louis, and also claimed that La Russa wanted it that way in an attempt to keep Rasmus working hard.

His 2010 season was solid hitting .276 with 128 hits, 28 doubles, three triples, 23 home runs and 66 RBI.

Early in the 2011 season, his performance began to decline. In Rasmus' opinion, instead of La Russa being positive and working with him to help, he publicly stated that Rasmus refused to listen to coaching staff.

Feeling betrayed by his manager didn't help matters and probably contributed to his decline in productivity.

He felt that the St. Louis media rode him hard, as well. The combination of a strained relationship with his manager and the stress of the magnifying glass of an unforgiving media proved to damage him psychologically. The incessant and relentless tension took its toll and became irreparable in St. Louis.

Once traded to Toronto, Rasmus hoped that a new environment would facilitate positive changes in his playing performance. An unfortunate right wrist injury hindered those changes and further complicated his physical performance, as well as his mental game.

Clearing his mind during the offseason, he has returned to spring training with a new head on his shoulders.

Feeling like he had been treated poorly in St. Louis by the team, he enjoys being with his Toronto teammates.

His Blue Jay teammates have been more positive and supportive, which is excellent motivation. His negative experiences in St. Louis emotionally and subconsciously suppressed the motivation that he needed.

Rasmus has a great deal of work to do to get himself back to quality baseball, but his arrival at spring training with a new attitude is a good sign.

The 2012 season will be a time of many new beginnings.