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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Hot-hitting Ludwick gets another start

Hot-hitting Ludwick gets another start
By Rick Hummel

With a day game after a night game -- and despite the morning rain it is scheduled to begin on time at 12:15 today at Busch Stadium -- both the Cardinals and the Colorado Rockies have made several lineup changes to give some of their bench players a game.

The Cardinals will catch newcomer Jason LaRue for the first time. And Aaron Miles, whose Opening Day start was rained out, will play second base in place of Adam Kennedy, who manager Tony La Russa said was a bit stiff after Wednesday’s game, although Kennedy said he was fine.

Ryan Ludwick again will start in place of Chris Duncan, who was able to take batting practice but otherwise will rest a strained hamstring.

Ludwick had three hits, including a double and triple, on Wednesday, and drove in three runs. With that backdrop, La Russa moved him from second in the order to sixth, a more prominent run-producing spot in the lineup. Catcher Yadier Molina, who normally bats sixth, will not start.

Ludwick had 14 homers as a part-time player last year. Asked if Ludwick, 29, could be an everyday player, La Russa said, "He does a lot things well. It’s a matter of, ‘Can he do it with 500 at-bats?’

"But you’ve got (Skip) Schumaker, Chris Duncan and (Rick) Ankiel). There’s no room for him sometimes. So when there’s an opportunity, he just has to do the best he can and he’ll get his playing time."

The Rockies, who have used the same lineup for the first two games, will play Ryan Spilborghs in center field in place of Willy Taveras, Jeff Baker at second base instead of Jayson Nix and they’ll start Chris Iannetta at catcher instead of Yorvit Torrealba.

The Cardinals’ bullpen, which has pitched eight innings in the first two games, will be a bit short today.

La Russa said the most likely eligibles are righthander Anthony Reyes and lefthanders Ron Villone and Randy Flores.

Righthander Jason Isringhausen, who warmed up several times on Wednesday without being used, could pitch, if necessary, La Russa said.

The Cardinals' batting order:

1. Schumaker, LF, .000

2. Miles, 2B, .000

3. Pujols, 1B, .500

4. Ankiel, CF, .375

5. Glaus, 3B, .000

6. Ludwick, RF, .600

7. LaRue, C, .000

8. Thompson, P, .000

9. Izturis, SS, .000

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