ST. LOUIS -- Sam Freeman's first few days in the Major Leagues have been eventful, starting with his debut in Johan Santana's historic no-hitter in New York.
But the 24-year-old left-hander, who began the season in Double-A Springfield, has settled in nicely after allowing two earned runs in his first two appearances.
"I'm not comfortable yet," Freeman said. "It's been an adjustment for sure. Every day you just want to make sure you're ready to go out and do your job. In that sense, getting the job done is the same as it has been."
The rookie allowed one earned run, one hit, walked two and struck out a batter in his 2/3 of an inning in his debut on June 1, then allowed one earned run on one hit in 1/3 of an inning two days later.
His last three appearances, including two in Houston, have gone much better. He's struck out four and allowed one hit over 3 1/3 innings to lower his ERA to 4.15.
"He's made good adjustments," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "I think his first couple outings he was trying to be perfect. ... He thought he had to be better than he's been and be more precise because these are big league hitters, so he has to hit the corners and next thing you know, he's working behind in the count and walking guys. We're trying to be straightforward with [him], 'Hey, you need to throw strikes here', 'You don't have to be so fine', 'Your stuff is going to make up for maybe some pitches that get more plate than you want and you're going to be OK if you're throwing in the strike zone.'
"I've been impressed with how he's gone about it. I think it's been a great experience for him already and we'll just kind of see where it goes from here."
Not bad for a guy who appeared in just six games in Triple-A before getting called up to be the second lefty in the Cardinals' bullpen.
Freeman was 1-5 with two saves and a 2.31 ERA in 21 appearances between Springfield and Triple-A Memphis this season. He struck out 17, walked eight and allowed 17 hits in his 23 1/3 innings of work.
"I thought I was throwing fine," he said. "I made some adjustments that I thought were key and it helped me get better results. Statistically-wise, I don't ever really look at it so I don't really know, but I felt a lot better throwing."