Rookie outfielder John Rodriguez wasn't even in the Cardinals organization until midseason, and even after a trade to St. Louis he wasn't on the 40-man roster. Yet an amazing month at Triple-A Memphis, combined with injuries on St. Louis' big league squad, led to an opportunity for Rodriguez to play in the Majors for the first time. Rodriguez is checking in with MLB.com throughout the playoffs to share his experiences with readers in his first taste of the Major League playoffs.
Thursday brought Rodriguez's first appearance in the NL Championship Series, as he drew a walk in a seventh-inning pinch-hitting assignment.
At first, the inning before I came in, (manager Tony La Russa) told me I was going to hit. So I put different scenarios in my head. If the first two guys get on, should I bunt even if they don't tell me to bunt? Things like that.
I was just thinking about a situation like what happened -- a man on second, or a guy leads off the inning and the next guy bunts him over and then it's my turn. But there was a base open, so I told myself, just look for your pitch. Don't chase. Just go out there and some way, somehow, get it done.
We didn't talk about a bunt. Not at all. It was my chance to do something great, but I took the walk and that's fine. All I knew was that I had to go up there and battle. No matter what, get it done.
It was way different from my last at-bat, to tell you the truth. Because the one in San Diego, we were up. This time, we were down one with a man on second. I had a chance to drive in that run and tie up the game. The adrenaline was way different. It was a lot higher. The crowd was into it. We were at home. Over there, in my last at-bat, we were in San Diego. It was real nice, and I definitely enjoyed it.
It's definitely a sign of confidence that he sent me out there. That's why I always have to be ready, no matter what. It's not just me, we have other guys on the bench that can do it. This whole team can get it done. I'm just real glad that he has confidence in me.
Definitely, on offense and defense, there are going to be a lot of moves in this series because there are going to be a lot of close games. Whoever plays the best is going to win.
John Rodriguez's diary appears as told to MLB.com reporter Matthew Leach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.