Cardinals manager Tony La Russa bats pitcher eighth against Nationals Print
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Saturday, 04 August 2007 11:55
MLB Headline News

 WASHINGTON (AP) -In an attempt to jump start his sagging offense, St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa decided to bat his pitcher, Joel Pineiro eighth on Saturday against the Washington Nationals.
Adam Kennedy, the Cardinals' second baseman will bat ninth.
``I've been thinking about for a while. Our offense has been very erratic,'' La Russa said. ``We're just not getting enough guys on base. (What) we're trying to do is get a legitimate position player in the lineup.''
The Cardinals entered Saturday night's game against the Nationals on a three-game losing streak. They're 11th in the National League in runs scored.
``We just lost three games with the pitcher batting ninth. ... I think it's a good strategy to use. It's not like we're burning up the league offensively,'' La Russa said.
The reason to bat a position player ninth is to potentially put another runner on base for the team's middle of the lineup.
``In the American League, it's a second leadoff hitter,'' La Russa said of the ninth batter.
It's not as if he's losing a ton of production from the eighth spot, either; the Cardinals were last in baseball with 28 RBIs out of the eighth slot.
La Russa has done this before; in 1998, he batted his pitching in the eighth slot 76 times. He hasn't done it since.
The player La Russa chose to bat ninth wasn't thrilled about it - even if he had batted ninth regularly last year with the Los Angeles Angels.
``It's what (La Russa) wants to do,'' Kennedy said. ``We all have egos, so definitely, that comes into play.''
One of the players who might benefit from La Russa's strategy - first baseman Albert Pujols, who normally hits third, wasn't in the starting lineup. Pujols is suffering from a sore right elbow, and was available for pinch-hitting duties, La Russa said. Pujols has played in each of the Cardinals' first 106 games - and started all but one.
The last starting pitcher to not bat ninth was Florida's Dontrelle Willis, who batted seventh on Oct. 2, 2005.
 

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