Maness ready to take next step in Cards bullpen -

Maness ready to take next step in Cards bullpen

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By John Bailey By John Bailey

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(BaseballStL) — Carlos Beltran nicknamed him "the groundball guy,” but there may not be a better way to describe Seth Maness. The Cardinals reliever burst onto the Major League scene a year ago and immediately found his role as a double play specialist.

He induced nearly 20 of them in 2013. Can the starter-turned-middle reliever be even better in 2014?

"I'd like to think so. You always set the bar high," Maness said. "I'm really trying to work on a slider or something that moves out of the way aside from the sinker.  I'm just trying to keep the hitters off balance a little more."

There are many who believe inducing double plays is luck.  They believe a ball hit can either find a defender or find a spot through the infield for a hit.  It's random. 

Maness isn't so sure.

"Who's to say it's not (luck)?" Maness said. "It's one of those things where you put the ball on the ground and you can't control where it goes after that.  Luckily it found a glove several times but there were plenty times where the ball got through."

With a spot in the starting rotation hard to come by in St. Louis due to so many high powered arms, Maness is happy just to have a job in the big leagues.  But he has a role that has become incredibly important.

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