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Notes: Bennett OK; La Russa upset

Notes: Bennett OK; La Russa upset

ST. LOUIS -- Gary Bennett was feeling much better about the bump on his head on Wednesday. His manager was not.

Bennett said that the headache that resulted from being hit by an Aaron Harang fastball had subsided. He was held out of the Cardinals' starting lineup in favor of Kelly Stinnett, but said the decision was precautionary.

"My headache's gone, so that's good," said Bennett, who still has something of a welt behind his left ear.

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"It could have been worse, I guess. I don't know. I wasn't even really thinking about it."

Manager Tony La Russa, however, was still irritated by the pitch that hit Bennett. La Russa does not believe that Harang hit Bennett intentionally, but said intent shouldn't be a factor when a batter is hit in the head.

"He didn't mean to hit him, but he meant to throw up and in," La Russa said. "It's a very dangerous thing. If you're a big league pitcher, you should be able to get the ball below the shoulder. If you don't, you should have big consequences, because that's a dangerous thing.

"If our guy does it I yell. 'Get it down, or get ... out of there.'"

On Tuesday night, La Russa called for mandatory suspensions for any pitcher who hits a batter in the head, regardless of intent. That didn't sit well with Harang, who emphasized on Wednesday that he did not want to hit Bennettt.

"I'm upset at myself for that," said the right-hander. "It's the first time I've hit somebody in the head. It's not a fun feeling to have. When I came in after I was done pitching, I called over there to find out how he was doing. He understood it wasn't intentional. I apologized for it. I was worried and wanted to make sure he was OK. There were no hard feelings."

Miles starts: Before Wednesday night, it had become clear that Adam Kennedy and Aaron Miles made for a platoon at second base. Kennedy got nearly all the starts against right-handed pitchers, while the switch-hitting Miles was getting the call against lefties. On Wednesday, though, Kennedy actually was a healthy scratch against a righty, with Miles starting against Bronson Arroyo.

"Aaron has deserved playing time," La Russa said.

Miles drew a walk to start the winning rally on Tuesday night, but on the whole his offensive production has not been much greater than Kennedy's. Miles has a .261/.288/.306 (average/on-base/slugging) line in 111 at-bats. Kennedy is at .225/.291/.285 in 151 at-bats.

"[Kennedy] takes a couple steps forward and then one step backwards," said the manager.

Cardinals second basemen rank last in the National League in batting average (.237), runs (19), RBIs (14), slugging percentage (.285) extra-base hits (nine) and 15th out of 16 teams in on-base percentage (.298).

Rolen returns: Scott Rolen was back in the Cardinals lineup on Wednesday after missing three games due to a hamstring strain. Rolen went through an extensive workout on Tuesday, and when he came through it feeling OK on Wednesday, he was cleared to play.

Bits and pieces: Brendan Ryan had a new number when he came to the park on Wednesday. Ryan, who had been wearing No. 63, had a jersey with No. 13 hanging in his locker. ... La Russa confirmed that Todd Wellemeyer will take his next turn in the rotation, Sunday at home against the Angels. St. Louis will miss the two pitchers who have been Los Angeles' best this year, John Lackey and Kelvim Escobar.

This date in Cardinals history: On June 6, 1958, Sam Jones pitched a complete game with 12 strikeouts as the Cardinals beat the Phillies, 3-1, in St. Louis. Ken Boyer and Don Blasingame had two hits each, and Stan Musial added a sacrifice fly. Thanks to Project Retrosheet for the information.

Baby 'Birds: Mike Parisi struck out six but allowed four runs on seven hits with seven walks as Triple-A Memphis lost to Las Vegas, 4-2, on Tuesday. Rick Ankiel singled, walked and scored. ... Joe Mather hit his 15th home run, helping pace Double-A Springfield to a 5-4 win over Tulsa on Tuesday. ... Class A Palm Beach was drilled by Clearwater, 8-0, on Tuesday. Adam Ottavino allowed three runs on seven hits over five innings, striking out six and walking four. ... Class A Quad Cities swept a doubleheader on Tuesday from Wisconsin, 13-5 and 3-2. Brandon Buckman had three hits, including his 13th homer, in the opener. In Game 2, Brad Furnish struck out nine over four innings, allowing two runs (one earned on two hits). Then Tyler Herron came on in relief and did him one better, striking out six with no walks and one hit over three shutout frames.

Mather is the player of the day after he drove in all five of his team's runs. The Springfield first baseman homered, doubled and hit a sacrifice fly, giving him five RBIs. On the year, the 24-year-old is batting .302, slugging .603 and has 23 walks against 24 strikeouts. He was the Cardinals' third-round Draft pick in 2001 out of a Phoenix high school.

Coming up: The Cards and Reds finish up their three-game series on Thursday with a night game on "getaway day." Adam Wainwright will try to make it three good starts in a row when he goes up against Cincinnati and Kyle Lohse. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. CT.

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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