La Russa bats pitcher 8th first time

ST. LOUIS (AP) - For the first time this season, the St. Louis Cardinals had their pitcher batting eighth Wednesday night.

Manager Tony La Russa used that unusual strategy on an everyday basis the last 1 1/2 seasons to get more runners on base for third-place hitter Albert Pujols after the first time through the lineup. This season he said he might use the tactic more infrequently, depending on whether he has two leadoff-type players on his card to bat first and ninth.

Pitcher Todd Wellemeyer was batting ahead of ninth-place hitter Brendan Ryan against the Pittsburgh Pirates' Zach Duke, but certainly not because of his .148 career average. Rookie Colby Rasmus, who had two hits in his major league debut on Tuesday, batted leadoff.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.