Freeman taking advantage of latest chance in 'pen

Freeman taking advantage of latest chance in 'pen

ST LOUIS -- There have been difficulties at times this season for Cardinals reliever Sam Freeman to find space in a crowded bullpen.

His opportunity has presented itself in his most recent stint in the Majors and Freeman has produced.

"He comes in and the times he's been here, we've had guys doing a real nice job in those significant late innings and there hadn't been an opportunity for him," manager Mike Matheny said. "The opportunity has now shown itself and he's got an opportunity to show what he can do, and he's making the most of it."

Freeman made just one appearance in his first stint with the Cardinals in mid-May. Since being recalled May 24 for the second time this season when reliever Kevin Siegrist went on the disabled list, the left-hander has tossed three scoreless innings.

His most recent appearance came in a 1-0 game Saturday against the Giants. He struck out two in the seventh to record his first hold of the season as the bullpen faced the minimum number of batters through the final three frames.

Freeman entered the season with 37 appearances in the Majors during the last two seasons, posting a 4.18 ERA in 32 1/3 innings.

In 16 appearances with Triple-A Memphis this season, the 26-year-old posted a 3.54 ERA in 20 1/3 innings. The Cardinals have asked Freeman to work on his breaking ball, being quicker to the plate and his consistency in the strike zone using his fastball.

There is a feeling he has started to deliver.

"He threw so well in Triple-A, and he's just been waiting for that opportunity to show everything he's been working on," Matheny said. "He's done a nice job taking different assignments we've given him."

Alex Halsted is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.