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Cards' Weaver dazzles in Triple-A debut

Club's No. 2 prospect twirls six shutout frames at Minors' top level
August 8, 2016

Luke Weaver climbed to a new team at a new level, visited a new city and faced a new lineup. But the glove he threw to was the same as the last time he made a debut.

St. Louis' No. 2 prospect allowed two hits over six innings in his first Triple-A start as Memphis blanked New Orleans, 2-0, to split Monday's doubleheader at Zephyr Field. He struck out four and walked two.

"Everything's kind of new," Weaver said afterward. "Pretty much every batter I saw, I've never seen or pitched against besides watching them prior to the game when I got here. It was just a good mix with [catcher] Michael Ohlman back there. He knows my stuff. He's caught me plenty of times. He caught my first start in Double-A when I got the season rolling around. We just have a good chemistry there, and I trust what he's putting down."

The 22-year-old right-hander thrived in his new atmosphere. He faced multiple baserunners just once, in the fourth inning, and retired eight of his final nine batters.

"I think as a starting pitcher, you're obviously trying to have those 1-2-3 innings, quick, efficient, not too many pitches," Weaver said. "When you can find that groove, that flow and just kind of allow everything to come together, you don't have to do too much thinking and just allow your catcher and you to lock in. The less thinking, the better."

After being summoned to the Pacific Coast League, Weaver said he leaned on his new teammates for a crash course in what to expect against New Orleans.

"A lot of guys are willing to help, knowing that they've been in that situation before," he said. "They just want to lend a helping hand and prepare you as much as possible, which is much appreciated. It definitely played a role tonight. I'm very thankful for guys like that in this organization. It was just a cool night for me."

Isaac Galloway singled to collect the first hit off Weaver to lead off the third. The Florida State product issued both of his walks in the fourth, and Kendry Flores singled in the fifth. 

"There are definitely some advanced approaches," he said. "I learned a lot in Double-A, but just with this one start, I learned a heck of a lot. I think it's just about, for me personally, being as consistent as possible, giving us a chance to win.

"As a whole, I think it's just learning these hitters and the way they play this game at this level. Obviously each level, there's new things, but just being a sponge and learning from all the guys who've experienced it."

Weaver got started late this year after a left wrist fracture he suffered in Spring Training sidelined him for the first two months of the season. Upon returning, he won his first four decisions for Double-A Springfield en route to a 6-3 record with a 1.40 ERA in 12 Texas League starts.

"There's always stuff to improve on,"'s No. 94 overall prospect said. "I'm obviously happy with the season as it's come together, especially with the circumstances prior to it starting. I'm just thankful and blessed to stay healthy at this point and to go out there and throw as many innings as I can to help the team to win. I think just staying on top of things and not taking it for granted, knowing that being off the field really stinks, you do your best when you're out there and make sure that stuff doesn't happen."

The Redbirds gave their starter a lift in the opening inning as Dean Anna plated Efren Navarro with a single to center field. Memphis tacked on an insurance run in the seventh when Breyvic Valera lofted a sacrifice fly to left to plate Ohlman.

Marlins righty Jose Urena allowed two hits over five innings as New Orleans took the opener, 1-0. He struck out five and didn't issue any walks.

Tyler Maun is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @TylerMaun.