ST. LOUIS -- Shortly after a major league debut that surely felt delayed, Michael Blazek stood in front of a nearly-empty locker and described a feeling of relief.
"It's good for your confidence just to get out there, no matter how you do," the 24-year-old rookie reliever said. "Just getting your feet wet is probably a bigger deal than anything."
Blazek would know better than anyone. His first stint as a big leaguer came and went before his cleats got a chance to dig into the mound. The Cardinals had called the right-hander up from Double-A in late May, when John Gast's injured shoulder sent him to the disabled list. Less than a week later, and without a debut to show, Blazek was headed to Triple-A Memphis, the chess piece traded for rookie starter Michael Wacha.
"When he came up, there just wasn't an opportunity," St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "Every game was tight. We tried to get him in a couple times, got him hot twice. It just didn't work out."