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Notes: Pujols isn't worried

Notes: Pujols isn't worried

ST. LOUIS -- Last April, Albert Pujols wrote his name into the record books when he set a Major League record, hitting 14 home runs in the first month of the season.

Fast-forward a year, and this April hasn't been as good to the All-Star. Through the first 10 games of the season, Pujols is hitting .158 and has one home run on the young season. Despite the slow start, Pujols is confident in his stroke and thinks it's just a matter of time before things turn around.

"Just because I start slow doesn't mean I'm going to try and kill myself or put too much pressure on," Pujols said. "I know what goes around comes around. I have a lot of faith I'll get it going."

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Even with the low average, Pujols said he is pleased with his at-bats and approach at the plate. In Saturday's game against Milwaukee, the former MVP sent a towering fly ball to left field that hung up in the wind and was caught in front of the wall. He also lined a ball to second baseman Rickie Weeks.

The slugger said he was happy with his work at the plate in Spring Training, where he hit .286 and had two home runs in 70 at-bats. In Florida, Pujols said he ran into the same problem he's having now; he's hitting the ball hard, just right at the other team.

Pujols has struggled even more at his home park. Through Saturday, in four games at Busch Stadium, he's just 1-14 with two walks and no RBIs.

"If I wasn't seeing the ball like I wanted I would be concerned," Pujols said. "But right now, I'm having some good swings and I'm not too far behind. At the end of the year, if I'm hitting .150, I'll be concerned, but it's too early right now."

Manager Tony La Russa isn't worried about his first baseman either and said because he's one of the premier players in baseball, he's under a microscope.

"He's working every bit as hard as he always does," La Russa said. "He's just in a tough stretch right now. He'll be fine."

No shakeup: With his team batting .240 through the first 10 games, La Russa said he isn't thinking about shaking up the lineup and will stick with what he's been using.

"That's definitely not the message I want to send to my team," La Russa said. "I want them to know I believe in them."

Keisler gets the ball: La Russa confirmed Sunday that left-hander Randy Keisler will start the team's opener in San Francisco on Wednesday. Keisler was called up from Triple-A Memphis after Cards ace Chris Carpenter was put on the 15-day disabled list.

Keisler threw six innings and allowed two runs in a no-decision on the road at Pittsburgh, in his first start as a Cardinal.

Big men in the dugout: Wrestling superstars Kevin Nash and Scott Steiner were in the Cardinals' dugout before Sunday's game and were recognized on the field before the game.

The two were in town because of a TNA wrestling pay-per-view event in St. Charles, Mo., on Sunday night. World Series MVP David Eckstein isn't a stranger to TNA. Eckstein got in the ring last December with White Sox catcher A.J Pierzynski. Eckstein said he will attend the event Sunday night, but won't participate.

Baby 'Birds: Despite seven innings from starter Matt Ginter, Triple-A Memphis lost to Oklahoma, 5-2, on Saturday. The Redbirds did get a home run from Rick Ankiel, his third of the season. ... Double-A Springfield was snowed out Saturday against Midland. It's the second consecutive game that's been postponed for Springfield after Friday's game was postponed because of rain. ... Behind Adam Daniels' strong start, Class A Palm Beach beat Vero Beach, 10-2. Shortstop Dan Nelson went 2-for-3 with one RBI ... Class A Quad Cities also got a win on Saturday, beating Kane County, 5-3. Designated hitter Isaias Garcia was 2-for-4 with one run and one RBI.

Player of the day honors go to Daniels. The left-hander out of Oklahoma State threw seven innings, allowing one earned run and striking out seven while not walking a batter. He is now 1-1 on the young season.

Coming up: The Cardinals will kick off a two-game home series against Pittsburgh on Monday night. Anthony Reyes, who was scheduled to start Friday but was bumped back because of a rainout, will take the mound for the Cardinals while the Pirates will counter with left-hander Tom Gorzelanny.

Daniel Berk is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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