Fuentes makes strong debut with Cardinals

Fuentes makes strong debut with Cardinals

CHICAGO -- With the offense monopolizing the spotlight in Friday's 9-6 win over the Cubs, Brian Fuentes' organizational debut in the same game became largely a footnote. That's not to say, though, that the left-hander's effective performance went unnoticed.

Fuentes entered in relief of Lance Lynn and pitched a 1-2-3 sixth inning. Expected to be strongest in the role of a lefty specialist, Fuentes actually faced two right-handed batters in the frame. He struck out both.

The outing was Fuentes' first in the Majors since June 30, when he was still with Oakland. That was the final outing of a seven-game stretch in which Fuentes allowed 13 runs in six innings. He was released soon after.

"He's got a new life here, a new start," manager Mike Matheny said. "To me, he's got a place where I think he's going to fit in well. What he brings more than anything is deception. It's part of his gig. He does a real good job of it, maybe as good as anybody."

During the four-week span in which he did not pitch in the big leagues, Fuentes did make three appearances in the Minor Leagues. There, he was able to build back his arm strength to a point where he felt confident when called upon Friday.

"It was good to get back out there," Fuentes said. "This is obviously a very good team, all the way around. It's a real easy atmosphere to slip into."