He has shown this type of play before, albeit in limited doses. Ludwick hit seven homers and drove in 26 runs in 39 games with the Indians in 2003 before tearing up his knee. He clubbed 14 homers in 303 at-bats for the Cardinals last season.
"I don't know if I'm a .330 hitter, but I've always had power," said Ludwick, who has graduated to hitting fourth—at least against left-handers—behind Pujols.
"I believe as you get older, you become a better hitter, a better player. I had spurts in Cleveland, then I got hurt. But I never had an extended period of time when I could come home in the offseason and say, ‘You know what, I can do this.' I thought I could before. Last winter, I knew I could."
NOTES AND QUOTES
• Manager Tony La Russa anticipates LHP Mark Mulder being a factor this season despite the fact that Mulder has had recurring problems with his left shoulder. "I don't want to add to the pressure he already feels," said La Russa. "But, honestly, I have an expectation that he's going to help us this year."
• RHP Jason Isringhausen has begun to throw off a mound at the Cardinals' spring training site in Florida, where he was sent basically to get himself back together mentally. The reason for Isringhausen's disablement was a laceration on his right hand from slapping at a television set in frustration, but the club made it clear his assignment to Florida was for more than that. Isringhausen is expected to be away for anywhere from two to six weeks.
—The Cardinals bullpen hasn't allowed a run in the last 10 1/3 innings dating to last Sunday. In that time, the relievers have given up only two hits.
• OF Skip Schumaker has two or more hits in each of his last four starts, bumping his average from .278 to .301.
• CF Colby Rasmus, a prized prospect, has seen his average slip to .179 at Class AAA Memphis, although there are no plans to send him back to Class AA.