The first person to suggest the Cards’ protector of cuddly critters needs another drink is banned from the comments section for 10 minutes.  From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Joe Strauss.

A non-combatant in Sunday’s 6-1 opening-day loss, Cardinals power project Chris Duncan probably will start in left field and bat second tonight against New York Mets righthander Orlando Hernandez.

His manager, however, may have had enough of the issue.

Redbirds skipper Tony La Russa voiced displeasure after Monday’s optional workout at Busch Stadium about what he considered excessive attention paid to Duncan’s absence against Mets lefthander Tom Glavine.

Typically generous with explaining the construction of his lineup, La Russa suggested he might remain more closed-mouthed if the undue scrutiny persists. La Russa said he thought critiques of Sunday’s explanation suggested “a lack of believability or credibility.”

“If Chris goes out and goes 0 for four, is that a good move to play him?” La Russa asked. “I think it’s a much better move to play the other two guys and let Chris get his shot another day. He might have got ’em, but I don’t understand … a lack of believability or credibility with the reasoning. I’m not talking about being second-guessed. That wasn’t, in my opinion, one of those controversial moves that deserves that much attention.”

So Taguchi started in Duncan’s place and right fielder Preston Wilson occupied the No. 2 spot in the batting order typically held by Duncan. Taguchi’s two defensive gaffes did little to calm what the manager perceived as a media storm.

A careful reader, La Russa noticed mention of Duncan’s absence in three articles in Monday’s Post-Dispatch.

“At some point, if the answer’s not good enough, you stop answering the question. Just let everybody speculate,” La Russa said.