Trevor Rosenthal battled injuries throughout 2016, including a nagging hamstring issue and an inflamed shoulder that cost him nearly two months on the disabled list. His bouts with the aforementioned ailments resulted in him pitching just 10.1 innings following the All-Star break. At just 26, and with a 2.92 ERA and 1.32 WHIP for his career, it would be premature to lose faith in Rosenthal, who's been a centerpiece of the St. Louis bullpen since entering the league. However, it's likely that he'll be relegated to the role of setup man for Seung Hwan Oh, the favorite to retain the closer spot in 2017. The Cardinals have said that they plan to stretch Rosenthal out this spring, which adds another wrinkle, but they do not have an open rotation spot, so it would seem that by stretching him out, they are paving the way for him to be used in multiple-inning relief appearances in the mold of late-season Andrew Miller.
Rosenthal nailed down his second save of the season in Thursday's 6-4 win over the Blue Jays in the nightcap of a doubleheader, firing a clean ninth inning and recording two strikeouts. The former closer was back in his element with Seung Hwan Oh unavailable after having closed out the matinee of the twin bill. Rosenthal flashed pinpoint control, throwing 12 of 13 pitches for strikes while steamrolling Ryan Goins, Justin Smoak and Devon Travis. Rosenthal has been effective while primarily serving as a setup option thus far this season, but he's also been perfect in both of his save opportunities. He continues to confound plenty of hitters, as he's notched a pair of strikeouts in each of his last four appearances and boasts a sparkling 13:0 K:BB.
Rosenthal pitched a scoreless ninth inning while allowing a single hit and striking out two batters to collect his first save of the season during Wednesday's win over Pittsburgh. After Seung-Hwan Oh picked up a save in consecutive games the prior two days, Rosenthal was handed the keys to the ninth inning Wednesday, and he put it in cruise control. While the veteran has significant closing experience and has fared well to start 2017 (2.70 ERA and seven strikeouts over 3.1 innings), Oh has a long leash after turning in a dominant 2016 campaign.
Rosenthal was credited with his second hold of the season in Monday's 2-1 win over the Pirates, firing a scoreless eighth inning and recording a strikeout. The 26-year-old righty bounced back from a rough outing against the Nationals on April 12 with his second scoreless one-inning appearance of the season. Rosenthal is in the process of settling into what is projected to be a one-inning, setup-type role for the time being, one that he could prove to be highly effective in given his previous late-inning success.
Rosenthal earned his first hold of the season in Wednesday's 6-1 win over the Nationals, giving up one earned run on three hits over one-third of an inning. He also recorded a strikeout. Rosenthal got Matt Wieters looking on three pitches to start the eighth before matters unraveled. He surrendered three straight singles to Wilmer Difo, pinch-hitter Adam Lind and Adam Eaton, the latter hit responsible for the Nationals' first and only run of the day. Rosenthal got the hook at that point but was credited with a hold after Matt Bowman and Brett Cecil kept their inherited runners at bay. The 26-year-old righty turned in a brilliant 2017 debut in his only other trip to the mound thus far, striking out the side against Washington in the series opener on Monday.
Rosenthal (back), who was activated from the 10-day disabled list earlier Monday, struck out the side in his one inning in the Cardinals' 14-6 loss to the Nationals. As per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are likely to limit the former closer to a one-inning role for the time being. Rosenthal had been stretched out this spring with the hopes of converting him into either a multi-inning option out of the bullpen -- in the mold of the Indians' Andrew Miller -- or even a full-fledged starter. However, an early-spring lat injury in the weight room and subsequent difficulties after two multi-inning outings led to his placement on the 10-day DL and delayed his 2017 debut until Monday night. While his role could eventually expand, manager Mike Matheny will take the cautious approach with Rosenthal for the time being. "I think we've learned too that his body didn't respond well," Matheny said. "I don't think he's destined to just be a one-inning guy, but for right now he's going to have to be efficient. That's always been his hangup. We'd love to pitch him more than one inning. He's got to keep his pitch count down. He's got to be efficient and effective, and we'll just see how it plays out."