- Associated Press - Saturday, February 25, 2012

JUPITER, FLA. (AP) - Ozzie Smith suited up with the St. Louis Cardinals as a spring training instructor for the first time, saying it was nice to breathe baseball air.

A rift with manager Tony La Russa over the way Smith’s playing career ended led to his estrangement, aside from formal functions. But the Hall of Fame shortstop has been welcomed back into the fold by new manager Mike Matheny.

The 57-year-old Smith will be with the team for a week, primarily helping with infielders and baserunning. Smith said Saturday that he’s open to making this a yearly thing, and said it was nice to be wanted.

Another star from the 1980s, outfielder Willie McGee, arrived Friday.

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