PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Rusty Staub made his Spring Training debut Friday morning. He still works for the Mets, with his job description "being Rusty Staub." No one else handles that assignment quite so well.
Staub was in the clubhouse when new clubhouse manager Kevin Kierst passed by and slid the nameplates of the 10 cut players partially out of their brackets.
"What's that?" Staub asked Kierst. "What does that mean?"
Staub had an idea. But how could he know for sure? He was cut from a Spring Training camp once in his 23-year career -- in 1962, when the Astros were in their first year, Staub was 17, and not surprisingly, very much a redhead.
"I remember, back then, you'd come in off the field and you'd find all your belongings packed in a bag," Staub said. "That's how you learned you'd been cut. Later on, you'd meet with the manager or GM."