Now Commenting On:

Izturis moved up to leadoff spot

Izturis moved up to leadoff spot

HOUSTON -- Back in Spring Training, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said that on-base percentage would dictate his choice of a leadoff man. Within reason, of course, since the skipper has no plans to put Albert Pujols in the No. 1 spot.

On Monday, La Russa put his lineup where his mouth is, rewarding Cesar Izturis for a strong start by putting Izturis at No. 1 in the batting order. Izturis is hitting .250, but thanks to five walks and a hit-by-pitch, he has gotten on base at a .455 clip entering Monday's game.

"I think it sets up well," La Russa said. "He's been swinging the bat well right-handed, to me."

Izturis is 3-for-7 against left-handed pitchers on the year, and he's reached base in six of 10 plate appearances against them. Historically, he hasn't been much of an on-base man, and typically he's been better from the left side, so it's not all that likely that the success will last. But for now, La Russa is taking advantage of the opportunity.

Skip Schumaker led off the first three games of the season, but has sat out four straight games against left-handed starters after getting off to a slow start. Brian Barton led off all three games over the weekend at home against Washington, but was replaced by Chris Duncan in left field on Monday.

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

Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español