ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Adam Ottavino made his second career start for the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday, mindful of all the effort that got him to this point.
Especially this time of the year. He was a first-round pick in 2006 and the team is set to draft a new crop of talent, holding the 25th overall pick plus a pair of supplemental selections in the three-day event that starts Monday.
"I worked three years waiting for that day, and that was a lot of anticipation over a long period of time," Ottavino said. "Now that I'm in pro ball it seems like the draft comes up very fast every year.
"There's always new guys coming."
The Cardinals have had good success the last several years in the draft room if major league rosters are any indication. A total of 13 players taken in 2005 and '06 are playing, including six with St. Louis.
That makes it good reason for manager Tony La Russa to pay attention, even if it'll be a long while before any of the new picks make it to the major leagues.
"I'm curious to see what it looks like is possible," the manager said. "It's the No. 1 way to compete, to grow your own quality."
From '05, Colby Rasmus is the starting center fielder for the second straight season, Jaime Garcia is one of the top rookies in the majors, Nick Stavinoha is a valuable man off the bench and hard-throwing Mitchell Boggs is in the bullpen.
St. Louis used 2008 first-rounder Brett Wallace as trade bait to get Matt Holliday from the Athletics last summer, and Wallace is at the Triple-A level with Toronto. Reliever Chris Perez, a second-rounder in 2007, went to Cleveland in a deal for Mark DeRosa and was the Indians' closer with Kerry Wood on the 15-day disabled list.
P.J. Walters won his first career game late last month, a boost for a rotation minus Brad Penny and Kyle Lohse. Shortstop Pete Kozma, the top pick in 2007, is at Double-A Springfield and right-hander Shelby Miller, the first-rounder last year, is at Class A Quad Cities.
The supplemental picks after the first round are compensation for the free agent departures of DeRosa and pitcher Joel Pineiro.
On Saturday, Ottavino allowed a lead-off homer faced just one jam the rest of the way before being pulled in the sixth inning against the Brewers. The rookie went five innings, allowed five hits and one walk, striking out two and leaving the game with a 4-1 lead.
The 24-year-old Ottavino was the 30th overall pick in 2006, three seasons after opting to attend Northeastern instead of signing with the Blue Jays as a 30th-rounder out of Berkeley Carroll High School in Brooklyn, N.Y.
"That was a long two days," Ottavino said. "Then I wanted three years for the next time. Didn't have to wait very long that day."
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