Jose Godoy got a taste of what's to come earlier this month, but now he's got to earn his way up. A memorable debut on Opening Night in the Appalachian League was a good start.
In his first game since being reassigned, Godoy went 4-for-5 with a career-high six RBIs as the Rookie-level Johnson City Cardinals shut out the Bluefield Blue Jays, 13-0, on Thursday night.
The Cardinals' No. 8 hitter hit a two-run single in the fourth inning, singled home a run and scored in the fifth, laced a two-run double in the sixth and doubled in another run in the eighth.
"It felt great, I'm happy we were able to get a win, and I felt comfortable at the plate," Godoy said through interpreter/shortstop Oscar Mercado. "I'm happy to start the season off on the right foot and hopefully can keep it going tomorrow."
Entering Thursday, Godoy had appeared in just 84 career games since 2012, when the Cardinals signed him out of Venezuela and sent him to the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League. He spent the 2013 season with the Gulf Coast League Cardinals, hitting .263 with 13 RBIs in 36 games before starting this season at Class A Advanced Palm Beach, where he went hitless in four at-bats. Thursday marked his Appy League debut.
"I've had a few games like this, but I've always been known to get off to hot starts," he said. "I felt ready and felt like I was seeing the ball well. I'm really excited to keep it going."
For Godoy, his comfort level is a factor. He's only 19, and after spending two seasons in Rookie ball, a jump up to Class A Advanced is one few players can handle. He was pressed into action as Palm Beach scrambled for help behind the plate -- Casey Rasmus, the younger brother of Colby Rasmus, retired and Jesus Montero, the brother of Mariners first baseman Jesus Montero, went on the disabled list. Godoy played in two games, June 11 and 12, before heading north to Johnson City.
"It was a little nerve-wracking, but it helped get my timing down," he said. "And I also have played in the Caribbean Winter Leagues, which helped."
Godoy saw action in one game for Caribes de Anzoategui this past winter in the Venezuelan Winter League. He's aiming to stay heathly and productive this summer.
"The main thing is to stay in good shape and stay healthy and have good at-bats," he said. "Everything just kinda fell into place [tonight] and [that's when] the nerves go away. There's isn't a better feeling than that."
Behind the plate, Godoy aided in the shutout authored by starter Landon Beck (1-0) and relievers Steve Farinaro and Kender Villegas. Beck, St. Louis' 25th-round pick earlier this month out of Anderson University, a Division II school, signed with the Cardinals on June 10. He struck out six, walked one and held the Blue Jays to four hits in his professional debut before Farinaro whiffed two in a pair of innings and Villegas struck out one in the ninth.
"Beck and our bullpen pitched well, and Godoy did a good job calling the game," said Mercado, who went 2-for-6 with an RBI and a run in his season debut. "He had a really good throw to throw out a runner at one point, and they got into some sticky situations but got themselves out of it."
First baseman Chris Rivera homered in the fifth and center fielder Blake Drake went 3-for-4 with an RBI as Johnson City totaled 18 hits in the win.