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Butler pitching in pressure situations early in career

ST. LOUIS -- Keith Butler has been in the big leagues for less than a week, but the rookie reliever was immediately thrown into the fire.

Butler was called on in the 12th and 13th innings of a tied ballgame Tuesday night and pitched two scoreless innings, allowing only one baserunner to reach on a walk and striking out two.

"There was pressure, but I felt fine with it because I've been in the back end of the bullpen my whole Minor League career," Butler said. "I just wanted to go in there and give our guys a chance to get in there and get the win."

Butler debuted with a one-hit, one-walk, one-strikeout inning on Saturday and pitched a perfect ninth Sunday. He made the jump from Double-A Springfield to the Majors last Friday and has impressed manager Mike Matheny.

"We saw him in Spring Training, we knew he would have some effectiveness against the righties," Matheny said. "But then to see him also have success in the Minor Leagues [and the Majors] against the left-handers ... makes him even more usable for us."

Butler, a righty, has faced nine left-handers and six right-handers in his three appearances. The only hit he has allowed was against Giants left-hander Brandon Crawford.

Chad Thornburg is an associate reporter for
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