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Notes: Slumping Kennedy sits

Notes: Slumping Kennedy sits

ST.LOUIS -- When the Cardinals signed Adam Kennedy to a three-year, $10 million contract in the offseason, they expected him to be their everyday second baseman and be the hitter who posted a .280 lifetime average over an eight-year big-league career.

Though it's only two and a half months into the season, the Cards have yet to see that player. Instead, they've seen Kennedy post a .211 average so far this season with an on-base percentage of .281 and a slugging percentage of .263. Hardly the player the Cards thought they were getting when they signed him away from Anaheim.

As a result, Kennedy was out of the Cards starting lineup for the fourth straight day on Tuesday and Scott Spiezio got the start at second for the second straight game.

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"Because of his track record and the type of competitor he is, he's been given a lot of the benefit of the doubt. At some point during the year, for whoever it is, you take what you see in that year," Cards manager Tony La Russa said. "The first couple of months, the guy gets the benefit of the doubt.

"He's just got to do what he's been trying to do since the first game. He has to play like he's played his entire career."

The left-handed hitting Kennedy was held out of the lineup several times in May and early June when there was a lefty on the mound for the opposition. Tuesday though, righty Scott Elarton was on the mound for the Royals and La Russa still opted to use the switch-hitting Spiezio instead of Kennedy.

Spiezio is the fourth second baseman La Russa has used as he has also used Aaron Miles and Brendan Ryan, who is up because shortstop David Eckstein is on the 15-day DL.

"It's frustrating and it's not fun to be a part of, but we're trying to win here. It takes some pride-swallowing, but through tough times and good times you want to be on a team that's winning," Kennedy said. "I'm not exactly one of our best options at this point. Some other guys are playing a lot better, so what do you do?"

On the other hand, La Russa has been thrilled with Spiezio's play as of late. Spiezio is batting .282 on the season with three home runs and 23 RBIs. He's played six different positions this year and hit in six different spots in the lineup as well.

"He gives you a competitor. That's the number one thing I like about him," La Russa said. "Scott's always into it. That's why I like playing him whenever possible. He brings a good, competitive edge to our club."

Yadi plays catch: Catcher Yadier Molina played catch on Tuesday for the first time since breaking a bone in his left wrist on May 29.

Molina is still far off from returning to game action, but is taking small steps to recovery. The catcher was behind the plate receiving underhand tosses from a coach before batting practice.

"I feel pretty good the first day I catch. We'll see tomorrow how it is," Molina said. "I didn't hold a bat, but catching for today feels good."

Molina said he didn't feel any discomfort in the hand and was anxious to continue working.

Carp to throw again: After having a successful throwing session off the mound on Sunday in Oakland, Chris Carpenter will do the same thing again on Wednesday at Busch Stadium.

La Russa said he would throw on Wednesday and then again over the weekend, with a little more intensity. Carpenter underwent left elbow surgery earlier in the season.

Juan's streak: Right fielder Juan Encarnacion singled in the eighth inning on Monday night to extend his hitting streak to 18 games. He's 21-for-69 over the stretch.

Encarnacion missed the first month and a half of the season, recovering from offseason wrist surgery. The streak is the longest by a Cardinals hitter this season and just one shy of Encarnacion's career best 19-game streak.

Even with Encarnacion swinging a hot stick, La Russa said he can still tell his right fielder is recovering from the surgery.

"He's taken a couple of swings where I've seen him flinch," La Russa said. "It sounds to me, down the road, I should give him a day here or there."

Center fielder So Taguchi also has a hitting streak going. His is at a season-high 11 games.

Moving on up: The Cardinals moved up two of their hottest Minor League hitters on Tuesday. Joe Mather was promoted from Double-A Springfield to Triple-A Memphis and Mark Hamilton was moved up from Class A Palm Beach to Springfield.

Mather batted .303 in Springfield with 18 home runs and 46 RBIs in 64 games. Hamilton, who belted three homers in a game earlier this season, was batting .290 with 13 home runs and 49 RBIs.

Baby 'Birds: Triple-A Memphis lost, 14-11, to Iowa on Monday afternoon. Edgar Gonzalez went 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs. Third baseman Rico Washington went 4-for-4 with five RBIs and two runs scored. Blake Hawksworth started and gave up eight runs in 1 2/3 innings, but didn't get the loss. ... Double-A Springfield lost to Arkansas, 5-3. Colby Rasmus and Mark Shorey each hit solo home runs. Shorey is now batting .313 on the season. ... Class A Palm Beach lost to Daytona, 11-2. A.J. Van Slyke was the lone bright spot offensively as he went 2-for-3 with a homer, his third of the season. Starter Fernando Salas fell to 2-2 on the year as he gave up seven runs on 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings. ... Class A Quad Cities had the day off.

Coming up: The Cards and Royals will finish a three-game series on Wednesday night. The Cards will send former Royal Todd Wellemeyer to the mound while the Royals will counter with righty Gil Meche. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. CT.

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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