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Matheny likely to use Wacha in emergency, long relief

LOS ANGELES -- While manager Mike Matheny still isn't certain how he'll deploy starter-turned- reliever Michael Wacha this postseason, he does not intend to shake up his late-inning relief blueprint to force him into that mix. That means Wacha will most likely be used in one of two ways -- to help bail out a starter who can't get the team through the fifth inning or as a long reliever in a game that extends into extra innings.

"[Carlos] Martinez is right right now," Matheny began. "Seth [Maness] has been great. [Randy] Choate has been doing his thing. And then we have [Pat] Neshek and [Trevor] Rosenthal. Why would you take a piece of that out to replace? We're just going to have to wait and see."

The role for Marco Gonzales is likely as fluid, though he has been used to pitching out of the bullpen for the Cardinals in September. Wacha's only career stint in relief came in August 2013, though he said that previous experience is something that he hopes will help him in this otherwise unfamiliar role.

Wacha has reminded the Cardinals that he can warm up quickly, so that would make him an option to enter mid-inning, if necessary. More likely, though, is that he would enter at the start of a new frame with an eye on covering a couple of innings.

"He's confident that he's going to get ready quick and just be a typical reliever," Matheny said. "I don't doubt that at all. He's not a high-maintenance guy in general where it's, 'I've got to play long toss, I have to do this, I have to do that, I have to get stretched.' That's never been the kind of guy he is. If he was, he probably wouldn't have been a good fit to make this transition."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB.
Read More: St. Louis Cardinals, Michael Wacha