Miles starts at second in opener

Miles starts at second in opener

ST. LOUIS -- Adam Kennedy remains the Cardinals' primary second baseman. But it's already very clear that he won't be the only one.

Aaron Miles got the start at second base in the Cards' season opener, playing in place of Kennedy, with lefty Jeff Francis on the mound for Colorado. Manager Tony La Russa said that Kennedy will start the next two games, as the Rockies send right-handers Aaron Cook and Ubaldo Jimenez to the hill.

"I have no problem with starting Adam against some left-handers," La Russa said on Monday morning. "It's just that today, we've got a right-hander throwing the next two days and I don't see a reason to push him."

Miles is an unusual switch-hitter in that he's been more effective against left-handed pitching. A natural left-handed hitter, he's nonetheless fared better from his less familiar side.

In 2007, Miles posted a .368 on-base percentage against lefty pitchers, and in 2006 it was .378. By contrast, his marks from the other side were .311 in '07 and .310 in '06.

"For most of my career, my left side was better," Miles said. "But now, I've got a real good approach right-handed, and I've gotten better and better. Now, I feel that I'm almost a better right-handed hitter than I am a left-handed hitter.

"But if the game is on the line, I still want to be up there left-handed. I have so many more at-bats left-handed."

Kennedy had a rough year all the way around in '07, but especially against lefty pitchers. He was 5-for-41 (.122) against left-handers during what can only be described as a lost season. So while he's looking to improve in every way, he's especially looking to re-establish himself against lefty hurlers.

"I have a lot to show about everything," Kennedy said. "The lefty thing, it's an issue. I've dealt with it before. I deal with it. You like to hit everybody. But however [La Russa] puts the lineup out, you still have a job to do."

La Russa declined to call the situation a platoon, but he also hedged somewhat when asked whether Kennedy is his No. 1 second baseman. He's keeping a short-term view.

"That's the way I kind of look at it," La Russa said. "But I'm not going to make statements where you can come back and look at it later on and say, 'I just noticed that in the first 10 games, guys started five and five.' But I know Adam is going to play the next two days."

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