The St. Louis Cardinals' newest reliever, erstwhile Oakland Athletics closer Brian Fuentes, made his Cardinals debut Friday, kind of. Kind of as in he was pitching for the Gulf Coast League Cardinals, in Jupiter, Florida, where a few dozen people watched two lowest-of-the-low-minors teams play a glorified scrimmage at their Spring Training complex. The GCL Cardinals beat the GCL Marlins 7-2 behind two hits from Kenneth Peoples-Walls. Fuentes was the starter; he allowed one hit in a scoreless inning.
It's a long way to the major leagues from there--almost none of the players in this league can drink, and some of them are just now able to see R-rated movies by themselves--but Fuentes is on the fast track; he can opt out of his minor league contract if he's not in the majors by July 31.
Fuentes, an All-Star four times with the Colorado Rockies and the Los Angeles Angels, was cut by the Oakland Athletics after 26 games with an ERA of 6.84. He's seen a declining strikeout rate--and declining effectiveness against right-handers in particular--in his mid-thirties. But he can probably get teenagers out.