Who's on Second?

The Cardinals signed 31-year-old second baseman Adam Thomas Kennedy to a three-year deal in November, ending the revolving door of players at second for St. Louis.

A first-round draft pick (twentieth overall) by St. Louis in 1997, the Cardinals' 1999 Minor League Player of he year made his major league debut the same season, only to be traded the following season by the Cardinals to the Anaheim Angels with pitcher Kent Bottenfield for centerfielder Jim Edmonds.

"We've had interest in bringing Adam back to our organization for some time," said Cardinals Senior Vice President/General Manager Walt Jocketty. "He's extremely excited to be back, and we're just as excited to have him back in a Cardinals uniform." Kennedy will be re-united with double-play partner David Eckstein with whom he spent four seasons with (2001-04) as a teammate.

Last season, Kennedy batted .273 with four home runs and a career-high 55 RBI in his seventh season with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

The left-handed hitting second baseman was solid in the field, making just two errors in his final 67 games and nine total for the year. His season included a career-best 17-game hit streak (July 8-Aug. 3) and he batted .329 in Sept./Oct. while being named the Angels' Player of the Month. Adam also led the Angels in April batting with a .324 mark and for the year he hit .339 with runners in scoring position.

Kennedy is a good contact hitter who uses all parts of the field with decent power to the gaps with enough speed to take extra bases. He is likely to bat seventh or eighth in the St. Louis Cardinals lineup and could even see a few at-bats in the #2 hole against right-handed pitching.

If Kennedy has a flaw at the plate, it is that he doesn't draw enough walks and strikes out too many times.

Last season, Kennedy struck out once for every 6.3 times at bat, and his strikeout rate is once for every 6.4 times at-bat over his career. For a middle infielder with limited power, the strikeouts will keep him batting in front of or behind catcher Yadier Molina most of the time.

Around the bag, Kennedy is an excellent defender with good instincts and exceptional range. On the basepaths, he's no Lou Brock, but Kennedy makes good decisions and knows how to run the bases. Kennedy has plus speed and could still steal 20-25 bases for St. Louis this season.

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Kennedy ranks second on the Angels career list for games played at second base with 969. He tied for first among American League second basemen in fielding (.990) in 2003 and in 2002 he led the Angels with a .312 batting mark, the highest ever by an Angels second baseman. In 2000, Kennedy was named as both the Baseball Digest and Topps Rookie of the Year.

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