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News » Duncan shines against lefthanded pitchers Uptat inim veliquam ilisit lametue dolorem er inisl do od dolore dolor iureet, cor sit

Duncan shines against lefthanded pitchers Uptat inim veliquam ilisit lametue dolorem er inisl do od dolore dolor iureet, cor sit

Duncan shines against lefthanded pitchers Uptat inim veliquam ilisit lametue dolorem er inisl do od dolore dolor iureet, cor sit
In the daily shuffle that was Cardinals manager Tony La Russa's outfield for the first week of the season, three of his four outfielders started five of the seven games and the other started six.

If that sounds confusing, then reduce it to this: Chris Duncan, the player more fans seemingly wanted to see riding out of town on a flat car than any other, was the one who started six, including three against lefthanded pitchers whom Duncan rarely faced last year.

Last season, in fact, the lefthanded-batting Duncan had only five hits in 34 at-bats against lefthanded pitching. Already in 2009, he has just one less hit against lefthanders.

"Really? No way," said Duncan on Sunday after the Cardinals' 3-0 win over the Houston Astros at Busch Stadium. "That's pretty cool. That's crazy. I didn't know that."

Yes, way, as Duncan's second-inning double off Wandy Rodriguez was his fourth hit against lefthanders this season in 11 at-bats against them.

Duncan, whose career average against lefthanders was only .196 before this season, is getting more chances against them this season because he has earned them and because the Cardinals have only one righthanded-hitting outfielder on their roster in Ryan Ludwick. So, at least two of the three lefthanded-hitting outfielders - Duncan, Rick Ankiel and Colby Rasmus - are in there every day against lefthanders, until perhaps righthanded-hitting Joe Mather shows enough at Class AAA Memphis to merit a recall.

"I feel more comfortable (against lefthanders) because I got to play against them in spring training," Duncan said. "And there's just more opportunity than there's been the past two years. There's going to be two lefthanded guys out there every time."

Duncan, who also has played the field well in the first week, hasn't had to endure the boos at the ballpark and the whining on the Internet that permeated his 2008 season when he struggled to a .248 average with six homers as he tried to play through a herniated disk in his neck. He finally had surgery in August.

But he said Sunday, "I hadn't really thought about (the fans' treatment). I'm just glad I'm healthy and I'm getting an opportunity to play.

"Feeling healthy has helped give me more confidence. Mentally, I feel a lot better than I did last year. I was really stressed out, coming back from the hernia surgery (2007), and then my neck was bothering me and not playing well.

La Russa again had to decide among his lefthanders Sunday and chose Rasmus and Duncan. Ankiel had been nothing for nine against Rodriguez, and Duncan was two for six, including a long home run off Rodriguez in Houston two years ago.

"I told 'Aldo' (assistant hitting coach Mike Aldrete) that home run a couple of years ago got me in there," Duncan said.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: April 13, 2009

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