Notes: Kennedy coping with injury
Cardinals second baseman might miss Grapefruit opener
JUPITER, Fla. -- Adam Kennedy is a little dinged up, but not so much that he can't still turn in a slick play in the field.
Kennedy made a nice diving play on a Skip Schumaker grounder in the third and final inning of an intrasquad "coaches game" on one of the back fields at Roger Dean Stadium on Monday. However, he was the only player in the game who didn't bat. The starting St. Louis second baseman said that he's battling some soreness in his right side.
"I'm just taking a few days," he said afterward. "I felt a little something in my side there."
Kennedy is unsure whether he will play in the Cards' Grapefruit League opener against the Marlins on Wednesday. However, he expressed only minimal concern. Cardinals camp has been otherwise unscathed by injury thus far this spring.
"He felt a little tweak, so Barry [Weinberg, head athletic trainer] said to hold him out from hitting the first couple days," said manager Tony La Russa.
Cards fly past Owls: The Cardinals had some trouble getting runs home at times, but still defeated Florida Atlantic University, 3-2, in an exhibition game at Roger Dean Stadium on Monday.
Troy Cate picked up the win for two shutout innings as the starter, while Kelvin Jimenez, Dennis Dove and Andy Cavazos also pitched shutout ball. Mike Sillman allowed two runs in the seventh and final inning, but nonetheless garnered the save.
On the offensive side, Ryan Ludwick chipped in with two singles and a sacrifice fly to drive in two of the Cards' three runs. Travis Hanson reached base three times on a double, a walk and a hit-by-pitch, scoring twice. The Cardinals left 10 men on base.
For Ludwick, coming off a 28-homer season with the Tigers' Triple-A Toledo affiliate, the Monday game was step one in an attempt to force his way into a very crowded outfield situation.
"Any time you can come out and get a couple knocks, it's just like the first game of the season, it's a confidence booster," he said. "It lets you know that you're somewhat ready. For a guy coming in like me, new to the organization, it's good to get a couple hits, maybe open some eyes and do what I can to help the team win."
La Russa was pleased, but not thrilled with how his team pitched. He noted that more than once, a pitcher was fortunate that a hard-hit ball died in the vast expanses of the RDS outfield. He did single out Jimenez and Dove for strong showings.
"We were fortunate to win," La Russa said, "because they hit the ball better than we did. We left a lot of balls in the zone and they crushed them to the biggest part of the park. So it was a little deceptive."
Close game: Kennedy's team lost the coaches' game, 7-6, to a team featuring primarily reserve players. Albert Pujols and Rick Ankiel each hit a double and a home run in the game, which features batting-practice pitching, but live defense and baserunning, yet it wasn't enough. The opposing team, led by Eli Marrero, Chris Duncan and Schumaker, held on for the victory.
The defensive highlight of the game was a diving play in the right-field gap by John Rodriguez, robbing Ankiel of what would have been a third extra-base hit. Ankiel made one slick play, a tumbling catch of a Danilo Sanchez liner, but also misplayed a couple of balls.
"I felt good," Ankiel said. "Got some good pitches out over the plate, took some good swings and I was able to put some good barrel on the ball. Makes you feel good. Look for the pitch away and adjust to the ball inside. My plan went well. I got some good pitches, made some good swings."
Eckersley to visit: Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley's business visit to camp is slated for Tuesday morning. Early in the day, he'll meet with Cardinals relievers and offer a few pointers. Eckersley, 52, recorded 390 saves with Oakland, St. Louis and the Red Sox after a successful career as a starter.
"Eck will be sweating it all night long," La Russa said. "He's a very conscientious kind of guy and he's going to want to do something really good here. He'll be worrying and worrying about it."
Big change: La Russa cuts a distinctive figure on the field before a game, with a familiar pose and his well-known and well-worn red fungo bat. Yet the manager may cast a slightly different silhouette this year.
He received a new fungo bat, mostly dark blue with some red on it. The bat is slightly smaller than his old faithful companion.
"I've got to figure out which one to use," he said. "That [new] one is almost too pretty to use."
Weather report: The skies threatened, but never really opened up on Monday. Tuesday's forecast calls for a chance of showers or storms, with workout temperatures in the low 80s.
Coming up: Tuesday brings the final day of workouts before games start. The Cardinals will take the field at about 9:30 a.m. ET. They are likely to have another coaches game at the end of the day.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.