St. Louis Cardinals rookie Nick Greenwood finally achieved his childhood dream last night when he made his Major League debut at Busch Stadium vs. the New York Mets. Greenwood was drafted in 2009 out of the University of Rhode Island and bounced back and forth between A,AA and AAA levels of the minors for five years before finally getting his chance in the majors.
The 26-year-old left-hander earned the win in his debut (6-2) and was fortunate enough to have his mother, fiancee, agent and best friend in attendance to witness his moment. Greenwood took over in the 5th inning and pitched 3.1 innings, allowing only two hits and one run while striking out three. His first career strikeout came against seven-time all-star David Wright, whom he made look foolish chasing a breaking ball in the dirt on an 0-2 pitch.
The soft-tossing lefty (high 80’s mph) was the ideal man out of the bullpen last night for the Cardinals’ following flame-throwing starter Carlos Martinez (high 90’s mph). Greenwood was extremely effective despite not having overly powerful stuff as he kept the Mets’ offense off-balance all night long.
The sellout crowd of 42,808 at Busch was originally scheduled to see Cardinals’ ace Adam Wainwright start but his turn in the rotation was skipped for precautionary reasons regarding an injury. Greenwood’s effort did not go unnoticed or unappreciated by the home-crowd faithful, as he was given a standing ovation while exiting the game in the top of the 8th inning.
“You couldn’t ask for a better outing,” Greenwood said. “It’s awesome. Words can’t describe.”
Greenwood became the first Cardinals relief pitcher to earn a win in his Major League debut since John Costello in 1988. Even more impressive, he is the first Rhode Island Ram to play in a major league game since Norm Gigon did so in 1967 and is only the fifth player from URI to ever appear in the majors.
Given the Cardinals’ pitching depth throughout the organization, it is unlikely that Greenwood’s stint in St. Louis is good for a permanent roster spot moving forward. Regardless, Greenwood can hold his head high knowing that he fulfilled his goal to contribute for a major league team and who knows, maybe we will be seeing more of him in St. Louis or another organization in the future.