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Notes: La Russa tweaks lineup
10/27/2004 9:05 PM ET
ST. LOUIS -- The lineup that the Cardinals rode to a division championship, a Division Series win and a National League pennant was more or less back in order on Wednesday. Manager Tony La Russa made a few tweaks from the batting order he had used in recent days, getting back to a look more like the one that terrorized NL pitchers in August, September and earlier in October.

Tony Womack moved back into his usual leadoff spot, with Edgar Renteria dropping from No. 1 in the order back down to sixth. Womack had been batting seventh due to a sore back and collarbone, and in Tuesday's Game 3 of the World Series, La Russa left him there due to Womack's lack of success against Boston starter Pedro Martinez. For Game 4, it was back to business as usual.

"I think that part about being worried about his back, I think that he's feeling good enough to where I'm confident he'll play nine," La Russa said. "The collarbone was another reason to be careful with him. And that's just sore, but he can play with it."


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Other changes came at the bottom of the order, with John Mabry taking Reggie Sanders' spot in left field and batting seventh, and Yadier Molina getting a start over Mike Matheny at catcher and hitting in the No. 8 slot.

"You look at (Sanders') at-bats, he's had a good-looking 0-for," La Russa said. "But ... this is the situation where John has given us a lift, more as a starter than as a pinch-hitter. I think Reggie's going about it (well). I've watched his at-bats and I think he's had competitive at-bats where he's really sticking his nose in there and taking some good swings. He's hit the ball hard. There are guys who have a hit or two that he's had better at-bats than."

La Russa has used Molina to catch Jason Marquis quite a bit lately. Also, he likes to give Matheny semi-regular days off.

"If we're gonna win this thing, we have to win more than today," La Russa said before the game. "Mike can have fresh legs tomorrow. Yaddy has worked well with (Marquis)."

   Jim Edmonds  /   CF
Born: 06/27/70
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 210 lbs
Bats: L / Throws: L

Struggling sluggers: The Nos. 4 and 5 hitters in the St. Louis lineup, Scott Rolen and Jim Edmonds, have yet to get going in the World Series, with a combined 1-for-22 mark over the three games entering Wednesday. La Russa pondered tweaking his order even further, bumping both players down a spot, putting Renteria in the two hole and moving Larry Walker to fourth.

"We're trying to fight to stay alive, and I didn't think today was the day to have some kind of dramatic (change)," he said.

Edmonds has had some memorable moments in the postseason, but he hasn't been in peak offensive form for about a month now. Rolen is still battling a lingering calf injury.

"Against (Curt) Schilling, Rolen hit a BB," the manager said. "Then you don't get a hit and you start trying to force it. Everything is spotlighted in your own mind. You want to contribute. During the season, you think, 'Hey, I'm hitting the ball good.' In Jimmy's case, it's just the way he's been since sometime in September. He hasn't seen the ball well."

Jim Dandy: La Russa has nothing but positive things to say about Jim Leyland, who is up for the vacant managing job with the Philadelphia Phillies. Leyland serves as a scout for the Cardinals in Pittsburgh during the regular season, and as a special adviser and instructor during Spring Training. He and La Russa have ties dating back to when the two were on the staff of the Chicago White Sox together in the early 1980s.

"His understanding and his interest in the game are the same as ever," La Russa said. "If he'd managed this club, it would have won 110 games instead of 105."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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