Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Sierra Quickly Earns More Playing Time

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Sierra Quickly Earns More Playing Time

Article excerpt

PITTSBURGH * Whether this was the Cardinals' plan for outfielder Magneuris Sierra before Sunday's game or not, his four-hit day made what they're going to do next with the lickety-split rookie obvious.

They're going to give him a run as a starter.

"He's going to get regular playing time right now," manager Mike Matheny said. "We're going to keep firing him in there. We'll see how it plays out. I don't want him to get too far ahead of himself. Get four hits every night and we'll use you."

To start his third promotion to the majors, Sierra set a club record nine weeks in the making with his first at-bat. Sierra chopped the first of three infield singles and extended his hitting streak to nine games. By having at least one hit in his first nine games as a rookie, Sierra surpassed a record set in 1902 for the Cardinals by Homer Smoot. Sierra, 21, is the 35th player in the majors to start his career with a hitting streak of at least nine games, His is the longest by a rookie since Colorado's David Dahl tied the MLB record with a 16-game hitting streak to start his career a year ago.

What's of more interest to the Cardinals than Sierra's hitting streak is how his hits disrupt opposing teams. Sierra got at least four bases in Sunday's 4-3 loss to Pittsburgh just by unnerving or rushing the fielders. One of his infield hits came when the second baseman had to hurry a throw and Sierra beat it. Sierra stole second. And after his only base hit to the outfield, Sierra got to third on a pickoff that went wild because of the attention he got from the pitcher.

The Cardinals sent him to Class AA Springfield with a plan to become more adept and more aggressive on the bases, and he stole 11 bases there in 45 games.

"I'm definitely aware that my speed can cause some damage," Sierra said.

"Just pressure on the defense, non-stop," Matheny said. "Pressure on the pitcher (when he) gets on second base. It's one of those intangibles you can't really measure how much distraction he provides where guys get better pitches at the plate. All those things we don't take for granted."

Now they have a chance to take it for a test drive.

The Cardinals advertised Sierra's promotion Saturday as a short-burst assignment. …

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