Worrell homers in first big league at-bat
Rookie reliever is eighth Cards player to achieve feat
WASHINGTON -- Mark Worrell went deep on Thursday night, and why not? He entered the Cardinals' game against Washington with a .500 career professional batting average. Of course, that number came in a grand total of two at-bats.
Worrell, a rookie relief pitcher appearing in his second career Major League game, became the eighth player in Cardinals history to hit a home run in his first big league at-bat. He drove a 3-2 pitch from Tim Redding into the left-field stands for a three-run shot, and it was no cheapie.
"It definitely felt good," Worrell said. "My No. 1 concern was going out there and putting up zeros on the board pitching, and fortunately I did. But it definitely felt good to hit the homer, too."
The last Cardinals player to homer in his first Major League at-bat was also a reliever -- Adam Wainwright, now a member of the St. Louis starting rotation. Before Wainwright it was infielder Hector Luna and another reliever, Gene Stechschulte. Eddie Morgan (1936), Wally Moon (1954), Keith McDonald (2000) and Chris Richard (2000) are the others on the St. Louis list.
By trade a short reliever, Worrell stayed in to bat in the sixth inning because the Cardinals received just four innings from starter Mike Parisi in the second game of a doubleheader. He pitched a total of two innings on the night and did not allow a run.
In his previous pro batting experience, Worrell was 1-for-2 with a double at Triple-A Memphis in 2007.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.