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Ludwick exits game with left shin bruise

Ludwick exits game with left shin bruise

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Ryan Ludwick left the Cardinals' game against the Mets on Sunday after twice fouling a ball off his left shin.

Ludwick first hit a ball off of his left foot, and before the at-bat was finished, he hit another off of his shin. He remained in to finish his third-inning at-bat against Mets starter Mike Pelfrey -- and hit a mammoth home run to left field that stretched the Cardinals' lead to 3-0. The at-bat lasted 12 pitches.

"This one is pretty swollen in the shin," Ludwick said. "But it's not like I haven't had it before."

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When the Cardinals took the field in the bottom half of the third, Ludwick was removed in favor of Nick Stavinoha. The club announced that Ludwick suffered a "left shin contusion." He said afterward that the welt on his shin had swollen significantly at first. Ludwick does not normally wear a shin guard, except when he is recovering from a bruise like the one he suffered on Sunday.

Ludwick becomes the sixth member of the Cardinals' expected eight-man regular starting lineup to suffer an injury of some sort this spring. Colby Rasmus returned to action on Sunday after missing three games due to a left knee bruise, and Yadier Molina is still out with a right oblique strain. Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday and Brendan Ryan have all also missed Grapefruit League games because of injuries this year.

Ludwick, the Cardinals' starting right fielder, is hitting .283 (15-for-53) with three home runs, five doubles and 13 RBIs this spring.

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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