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Kozma returns from three-day break

Kozma returns from three-day break

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ST. LOUIS -- After three consecutive days off, Pete Kozma was back in the Cardinals' lineup Sunday against the Marlins.

The shortstop was given Thursday, Friday and Saturday off to search for his swing and build his confidence at the plate. Kozma said he didn't identify anything "out of the ordinary" as he spent the time working in the batting cages and watching game film.

"He took some great steps," said manager Mike Matheny. "It's that fine line of how much time, and I think we gave him a good amount. He got some good work in and made some great adjustments. Overall, we knew going in that we wanted to give him time to get his mind right and get some work in and get him back out there to do what he's been doing."

Entering Sunday's contest, Kozma was batting .236, the lowest among Cardinals starters, and was hitless in his last 17 at-bats, which, after an 0-for-5 performance against the Angels on Wednesday, prompted Matheny to let his shortstop take some time off.

"I feel different after a couple days of rest, the body feels a lot better," Kozma said. "I'm just ready to go out there today."

While Kozma's numbers at the plate are lacking, the Cardinals are confident in his fielding abilities at shortstop. Kozma has committed four errors through 79 games this season. Daniel Descalso, who started at started at shortstop in Kozma's absence, had a pair of miscues on Saturday against the Marlins.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. Chad Thornburg 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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