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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Michael Wacha has some tough acts to follow, given St. Louis Cardinals rookie pitchers have already combined for 12 victories.

Less than a year after the Cardinals drafted him in the first round out of Texas A&M, the team’s top pitching prospect believes he’s here to stay — even though he’s on the fast track due to necessity.

The 21-year-old right-hander was 4-0 and led the Pacific Coast League with a 2.05 ERA. The Cardinals wanted Wacha to get more minor league experience, so they called up less-celebrated John Gast and Tyler Lyons the first two times they needed to plug in a starter.

Wacha will be the team’s eighth rookie pitcher to appear this year and third to debut as a starter Thursday night against the Royals in place of Gast, who is out with a shoulder injury. During a media scrum that accompanied the heightened expectations, Wacha mentioned the word fun a lot and didn’t seem concerned.

 

R.B. FALLSTROM,AP Sports Writer
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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