Greenwood a bright spot out of bullpen

Greenwood a bright spot out of bullpen

LOS ANGELES -- Rotation instability has left the Cardinals needing to carry a long reliever, a job that Nick Greenwood may be seizing with the way he has pitched since a mid-June callup.

Greenwood was a savior for the Cardinals on Saturday, stepping in when Lance Lynn had to exit after two innings and carrying the game into the seventh. From there, he handed it off to Eric Fornataro, who was the only other St. Louis reliever needed in the 9-1 loss.

"A bright spot," manager Mike Matheny labeled Greenwood's appearance afterward. "He did a fantastic job again."

Greenwood has gone multiple innings in three of his five Major League appearances but is also asserting himself as more than a mop-up man. He entered with a one-run lead in his debut and eventually earned the win with 3 1/3 strong innings. A week ago, he was credited with his first career hold.

The Cardinals went most of the season's first half without a defined long reliever. Some recent hemorrhaging of the rotation, however, has altered the complexion of the 'pen.

"I knew coming up here that I would probably be the long guy if anything started to spiral a little," Greenwood said. "Obviously, the more times I can get out there, the nerves get a little less."

Saturday was an especially meaningful appearance for Greenwood because of who it was against. A native of Connecticut, Greenwood said he grew up idolizing Yankees hitter Don Mattingly, now the Dodgers' manager.

Because of that, he added that he "had just as many nerves today as I did on Opening Day." Greenwood hopes for an opportunity to introduce himself to his idol Sunday.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.