Rookie Brock Peterson settles into come-and-go role with Cardinals
AUG 08, 2013 2:34p ET
"I knew there was a chance," the 29-year-old rookie said. "After you are on the roster, it's a lot easier for them to make that decision to call you back up, but I didn't think it would happen that quickly."
Come Thursday morning, he was gone.
Peterson, who can play the outfield and first base, has been shuffled from Triple A to the majors and back twice since his unlikely debut this year. Every time he leaves St. Louis, he carries the only suitcase he owns, along with the hope he will make it back.
He says he gets it.
"Being a guy in my situation, on a team like this one, I kind of understand my role is to not play every day," he said before the Cardinals got trounced by the Dodgers 13-4 Wednesday night.
The loss, the Cardinals' 10th in 15 games, was compounded by the line drive starter Shelby Miller took off his throwing elbow. It happened in the first inning, and for a guy like Peterson, it was the first domino to fall.
Because Jake Westbrook burned his Thursday start by replacing Miller, and because the Cardinals had to tap into their bullpen more than expected, they called up starter Carlos Martinez and reliever Sam Freeman from Memphis. Peterson, along with rookie reliever Keith Butler, went from being Cardinals to Redbirds.
"My role is just to -- whenever they feel like they need me -- just go in there and have an at-bat or play a couple of innings," Peterson said pregame. "I just need to be my best for that small period of time. Just try to do something productive."
His chances have been limited.
A Busch Stadium crowd hit its feet to applaud when Peterson, after 11 years, 1,163 minor league games and 4,708 plate appearances, stepped into a big league box for the first time July 20. In St. Louis due to Matt Holliday's stint on the DL, and in the game as a pinch-hitter, he sent a grounder to shortstop to score David Freese -- his first MLB RBI. The same sort of ovation came four days later, when a pinch-hitting Peterson sent a ball off the glove of Phillies second baseman Chase Utley. The non play that could have been ruled an error fell in Peterson's favor.
"It's a big monkey off my back," he said at the time.
He went back to Memphis when Holliday returned, but got called back less than a week later due to Yadier Molina's sore knee. Add it all up and he's 2-for-13 with four strikeouts, two RBIs and one walk. His batting average is .154.
"The butterflies are gone now," Peterson said Wednesday. "It's back to normal baseball again. I'm just waiting for my opportunity. Hopefully, I can help the team when I get a chance."
He'll have to wait again. But another should should come around. For a guy like Peterson, a chance here and there is better than the alternative.
Follow Ben Frederickson on Twitter (@Ben_Fred), or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.