The focus in St. Louis has been on the departures of first baseman Albert Pujols and manager Tony LaRussa. No one is focusing on Nick Punto popping up with Boston.

Punto joined the Cardinals for the 2011 season as a free agent following seven seasons with the Twins and quickly became one of the most well-liked players in the clubhouse. Yes, he landed on the disabled list again, but he was around for the postseason and won his first ring after playing in the ALDS in 2006 and 2009 with the Twins

In 63 regular season games, Punt batted .278 with a homer and 20 RBI. His .388 on base percentage was the best of his career.

``You get to this stage in the game and you want to do that again,'' Punto, 34, said. ``I've got a taste in my mouth of what it's like to be a world champ and I would like to do it again.''

Unfortunately, he had to part ways with Cardinals after the season, but Boston entered with a two-year, $3 million deal. And Punto has a chance to start at short.

I told him that when he left the Twins he took all the team defense with him.

``Naw, they will be fine,'' Punto said. ``It was just a down year. They have all the right people in place. They just have to stay healthy. You've got Mauer and Morneau healthy they will be right where they want to be.''

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