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Notes: Loretta gets first start at short

Notes: Loretta gets first start at short

HOUSTON -- Mark Loretta is going to receive his fair share of playing time this year, but the season was almost a week old before he was penciled into the Astros' starting lineup for the first time.

He started at shortstop in the series finale with the Cardinals on Sunday, in place of Adam Everett. Entering the game, Loretta had just three at-bats in the first five games of the season.

Loretta's natural position is second base, where he'll play when Craig Biggio needs days off. But Loretta played quite a bit of shortstop and third base during Spring Training in an effort to re-acclimate himself to two positions he had not played a lot in the last few years.

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Loretta made an error in the eighth inning of the Cardinals' 10-1 win over the Astros on Sunday, which aided the Cards' three-run frame when Scott Rolen followed with a bases-loaded -- and clearing -- double.

"I thought it was hit harder," Loretta said. "I probably could have gotten in front of it. Instead, I kind of got it in-between backhand and missed it."

Since 2003, Loretta has played one game at third and three at short.

"I felt fine," he said. "There will be some things with reading balls and different angles that I keep working on. But I'm trying to do as much as I can in practice and it's just a matter of getting out there."

"He'll be fine," manager Phil Garner said. "Mark's a very, very astute player. He'll make adjustments. He figures things out very quickly. You might get him once, but you'll never get him twice."

Biggio's schedule: Biggio is tentatively slated to play all three games at Wrigley Field this week, plus the first two games of next weekend's series in Philadelphia.

Biggio estimated his first game off will be next Sunday in the finale with the Phillies. Coupled with Thursday's scheduled off-day, Biggio will have two days of rest during the trip.

Five of the six games on the upcoming road trips are day games, which isn't as hard on the older players as it is to play a day game after a night game. In that respect, Biggio is satisfied with his upcoming schedule.

"It's not night-day-night-day," Biggio said. "That's what gets me. Your recovery time for your body just doesn't bounce back like it used to."

Reunited: Woody Williams admitted he was pulling for the Cardinals during the World Series last year, even though that's the team that bounced his Padres from the playoffs in both 2005 and '06.

Williams played for the Cardinals for four seasons, from halfway through 2001-04, reaching the playoffs with them twice. Three years removed from playing in St. Louis, Williams still has many friends on the Cardinals.

He also realizes that he now plays for the Cards' fiercest rival, so all well-wishing pretty much ends once the first pitch is thrown.

"It's a little different now," he said. "I can't pull for them at all now. I'm glad to have this uniform on and I'd like nothing more than to beat them."

Coming up: The Astros begin a two-city, six-game road trip on Monday with the first of three with the Cubs. Williams (0-1, 5.79) will face left-hander Ted Lilly (1-0, 1.29) at Wrigley Field at 1:20 p.m. CT.

Alyson Footer 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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