Redbird Report - Kennedy Trying to Fit In

Adam Kennedy is hitting only .204 in 49 at-bats although he says, "If I felt lost at the plate, I'd probably feel a little more uneasy. I don't feel that far off. When you go in there and you feel overmatched, you're not doing well. But I haven't felt that way so far."

Illustrating what he said, Kennedy had struck out only three times in his first 49 at-bats heading into the Cardinals' game against Cincinnati on Tuesday night.

Albert Pujols, who was hitting only .203 himself before he had three hits Sunday in a 12-9 win in 10 innings over the Chicago Cubs, said he had been feeling Kennedy's pain.

"That guy had been hitting some balls hard," said Pujols. "I know he's not new in the organization and he wants to prove that he belongs here, and I keep tapping him on the shoulder telling him to make sure that he keeps his head up."

Kennedy, a former first-round pick by the Cardinals before being traded to the Angels for center fielder Jim Edmonds, returned as a free agent this off-season.

Despite the positive feedback he has received, Kennedy, asked if he was continuing to put pressure on himself, said, "Absolutely, because you really haven't done anything with these guys before, whether it's the players or the coaches.

"You want to fit in and help out and be a part of the team. You definitely press to prove you're a part of it."

NOTES AND QUOTES

--Of 60 total appearances by the Cardinals' bullpen, only 12 have resulted in runs being allowed.

Neither LHP Randy Flores nor LHP Tyler Johnson has allowed a run in 18 total appearances, 10 of them by Johnson. RHP Russ Springer hasn't given up a run in his last seven outings.

--RF Juan Encarnacion, slow off the mark after battling left wrist irritation all spring (he had surgery in December) was 0-for-3 with a walk on his rehabilitation assignment at Double-A Springfield Monday night. Position players who are on the disabled list are allowed 20 days on rehab assignments without actually having to be assigned to minor-league affiliates.

--RHP Adam Wainwright has given up 20 hits and 12 runs over his last 11 1/3 innings covering two games. In two of his starts, Wainwright, who was in the bullpen last year, has thrown more than 100 pitches at 113 and 106. Manager Tony La Russa said, "We're keeping an eye on it. He'll get an extra day (of rest) before his next start (on Saturday against the Cubs)."

--The Cardinals are 8-5 against the Central Division and are in a stretch in which they play divisional foes in 25 of 27 games.

--RHP Jason Isringhausen, who has 253 saves for 25th on the career list, is three shy of former Cardinal Todd Worrell, who is 24th.

BY THE NUMBERS: 3 -- Number of Cardinals homers not hit by LF Chris Duncan or 1B Albert Pujols before the team banged four on Sunday.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We deserve more than we're getting, but that's just the rut you get into sometimes." -- Manager Tony La Russa on his team's slumping offense prior to Sunday's explosion.


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