Told he's no longer in La Russa's plans, Kennedy wants out

Updated: September 19, 2008, 6:12 PM ET
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CINCINNATI -- Cardinals second baseman Adam Kennedy says he wants out of St. Louis, since manager Tony La Russa has told him he no longer figures into his plans as a starter, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Kennedy
Kennedy
"I'm probably not going to be here [next year]," he said Friday before the Cardinals played the Chicago Cubs.

Kennedy, who will enter the final year of a three-year, $10 million deal in 2009, said he approached La Russa about playing time and was told he no longer rates as a starter, according to the report.

Kennedy stressed that he appreciates La Russa's honesty. But he wants to be traded to a team where he'll have a starting role, rather than ride the bench in St. Louis, according to the newspaper.

"I think if anything, I know how he feels about me," Kennedy said, according to the report. "We sat down and he told me, 'I'm honestly not going to play you because this guy can do the job better.' He's been truthful with me. He hasn't lied to me. I respect him for it. I think our relationship is pretty good. Like I said, he makes the moves."

In Friday's starting lineup, Kennedy ravaged Cubs pitching. He hit a first-inning grand slam off Carlos Zambrano and finished 4-for-5 with five RBIs and three runs scored in St. Louis' 12-6 victory.

On Friday, La Russa said he would support Kennedy's search for a fresh start, adding that he has handled the situation well.

"Everything Kennedy said I agree with," La Russa said Friday in Chicago. "He's an everyday player not playing everyday. He should look for a place where he gets to play everyday."

"If he wants to go someplace, I would pull for him," La Russa continued. "He's handled the situation with terrific professionalism. I like him personally. I just felt the best way to go was the way I went. It's been tough for him to take but he's handled it."

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak confirmed that Kennedy is seeking a trade and said he would explore all options, according to the Post-Dispatch. "It's something that's come to my attention and something we may decide to pursue after we evaluate the club and how we plan to move forward," he said.

In 107 games, Kennedy is hitting .273 with two home runs and 35 RBIs in 319 at-bats. In an injury-shortened 2007, his first season in St. Louis, he hit .219 in 87 games. He is scheduled to make $4 million next year.

Kennedy has started 75 games this season but his playing time has diminished following the acquisition of Felipe Lopez on Aug. 6. Lopez and Aaron Miles have manned the position since, while Kennedy's playing time has dwindled from 70 at-bats in April to 22 at-bats this month, entering Thursday's games.

"Tony's won a lot of baseball games," Kennedy said, according to the report. "He writes the lineup and I'm not in it. That's fine. There's no argument. That's his opinion and he's the manager. Last year, I compounded the problem by not accepting the role and not being ready. This year, I've sucked it up and made sure I'm ready if I'm not in there.

"Now I'm to the point where I have to look out for my career as well. It's been two years. I didn't play well last year but I thought I'd done my part this year. But I don't see [increased playing time] happening."

A career .274 hitter entering Thursday's games, Kennedy was sixth in AL Rookie of the Year voting in 2000. His best season was in 2002, when he batted .312 and was named MVP of the American League Championship Series after hitting three home runs in the deciding game for the eventual World Series champion Angels.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.