Parise showing Cardinals everything he has
JUPITER, Fla.—Before he showed proficiency for the role, righthander Pete Parise believes he got a crack at closing for Triple-A Memphis because of his most basic attribute: He was available.
"I didn't expect it," Parise said. "I think it was just I had enough rest before that day, and (manager Chris Maloney) just happened to throw me into that role. It was up for grabs really. I just got lucky."
Parise, 25, went 2-1, 4.17 with eight saves and 15 games finished after his promotion to Memphis. It was in the Redbirds' six-game postseason run to the Pacific Coast League title that he asserted himself as a reliever to watch.
In five appearances, Parise pitched five scoreless innings, allowed one hit, did not surrender a walk and went 4-for-4 in save opportunities. Opponents hit .063 against the righty the Cardinals signed out of the independent Frontier League in 2007.
Coaches and team officials were struck by the well-heeled poise of Parise, who was closing games for low Class A Quad Cities 12 months before. It comes from a well-traveled career.
By the end of the 2010 season, Parise will have been pitching, nearly uninterrupted, for 32 months. When he reported to his first major league spring training, Parise was only one week removed from facing hitters in the Caribbean World Series. He was a member of the all-tournament team there, having pitched for Puerto Rico and collected a 0.93 ERA in 10 innings before the tournament.
Since the start of the 2008 season, Parise has toured the hemisphere, playing in Iowa, Florida, Colombia, Missouri, Tennessee, Puerto Rico and then Venezuela for the Caribbean championship series.
His motivation wasn't just sightseeing.
"I feel like I had to do it for where I came from," Parise said. "I felt like it was something I had to do to put my name out there."
• Shelby Miller impressed the big league staff with his composure during one scoreless inning in his Grapefruit League debut. At 19, Miller was the first teenage pitcher to appear in a major league spring training game for the Cardinals since Rick Ankiel did at 18 in 1998.
• Maloney won the team's George Kissell Award, which is given to the minor league coach who most embodied the teaching, fervor and fundamentals that personified Kissell, a longtime Cardinal coach.