Springfield's Kevin Siegrist can live with the nightly uncertainty, now that he's certain about his career path.
The St. Louis Cardinals have converted the left-hander from a starter to reliever, and with his role determined, Siegrist is concerned with staying healthy and making quality appearances, though he's never sure on a given night whether he will pitch or not.
"I've been a starter my whole Minor League career and they told me I was going to relieve this year," Siegrist said. "They could see me helping out as a reliever, so I'm focused on doing that. … There's some things you have to figure out for yourself relieving. It's definitely different, but I've been pretty comfortable with it so far."
The challenge, he said, is finding the right routine.
"When to take days off, and when you can actually work extra on stuff," said Siegrist, describing the challenges of relieving. "Just the rest, and [knowing] the amount of throwing you have to do."
Siegrist is 1-1 with a save and a 5.00 ERA in nine appearances this season, his second stint in the Texas League after he arrived at Springfield late last year and pitched in the playoffs, helping the Cards to their first championship since entering the league in 2005.
"They hit your misses more," Siegrist said of Double-A hitters. "You have to be more refined. You're not going to get away with as much."
St. Louis drafted Siegrist out of Palm Beach (Fla.) Community College in the 41st round in 2008, but after signing for $85,000, he began to battle injuries that have slowed his progress, though he has thus far avoided the operating table.
Siegrist has dealt with lower back trouble and, last year, pain in his non-throwing shoulder that placed him on the disabled list.
"It had nothing to do with my arm or anything like that," said Siegrist. "I slipped in a game and I did something to it. But I haven't had any problems this year and I feel good."
At 6-foot-5, 190 pounds and with a fastball that tops out around 93 mph, Siegrist, 23, has the physical makeup to be a big leaguer. The organization feels the same way, placing Siegrist on the 40-man roster despite his injury woes.
Siegrist is working on a slider to complement his changeup and fastball and to build on the momentum he captured late last year. He was 1-2 with a 3.62 ERA with Springfield in 2012, then had a stellar run in the Arizona Fall League where he went 2-1 with a 2.39 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 19 innings.
"That's the cream of the crop right there for prospects," Siegrist said. "And to go there and have success just gives me confidence, and I feel that's how I landed on the 40-man without pitching much in Double-A."
A Buffalo native, Siegrist is thrilled to be part of an organization with a history of success and a renewed focus on player development.
"There's a lot of great players in this organization," he said. "It's tough, I guess, because there's so many great players, but it's motivating, too. You've got to work hard."
Buckel down: Cody Buckel continued to struggle for Frisco while Corpus Christi's offense erupted in an 11-0 victory over the RoughRiders on Friday. Buckel, who fell to 0-4, failed to retire his first six hitters and couldn't get out of the first inning as Corpus Christi scored seven runs in the frame. Enrique Hernandez led the onslaught, going 3-for-5 with a triple, three RBIs and two runs scored.
Swauger's stick: Springfield's Chris Swauger went 2-for-3 with a homer and six RBIs as the Cardinals posted an eight-run fifth inning and topped Arkansas, 15-2, in the first game of a doubleheader at Hammons Field on Sunday. It was the second rainout-induced doubleheader the teams have played against each other and the fourth for Arkansas.
Personal Bettis: Tulsa right-hander Chad Bettis matched a personal best with 11 strikeouts in a 2-1 victory over Arkansas in a doubleheader at ONEOK Field on April 24. The Rockies prospect missed all of last year with injuries.