08/23/08 3:40 PM ET
Lopez feels fortunate to be in St. Louis
Veteran has contributed since joining postseason contender
By Robert Falkoff / MLB.com
"It's very exciting," Lopez said. "In Washington, it just seemed like everything was going wrong for the team. Now I'm with a team that has a chance to make the postseason, and these guys have been awesome to me. I just want to help out wherever I can."
Lopez, who was acquired on Aug. 6, has given St. Louis manager Tony La Russa another versatile player who can be slotted in at a variety of positions as a switch-hitter. Lopez, who got another start at second base on Saturday, also can play shortstop, third base or the outfield.
The fresh start seems to have rejuvenated Lopez, who hit .326 in his first 14 games as a Cardinal. Even though he didn't join in Friday's hit barrage against the Braves until late in the game, La Russa liked the way Lopez kept battling.
In his first four at-bats on Friday, Lopez was 0-for-4 and stranded nine runners. But he was 2-for-2 thereafter, and that made an impression on La Russa.
"He kept playing," La Russa said. "That's one of the secrets in this game."
Lopez loves coming to Busch Stadium and playing before packed houses.
"When you are playing for something and have a great fan base, it really makes it fun," Lopez said. "I just feel very fortunate to be here. You can go anywhere in the country and you're still going to see St. Louis fans."
Lopez arrived in St. Louis without any expectations regarding playing time.
"I just told myself that wherever they put me, I would do my best and try to contribute to a winning team," Lopez said. "It's not about me trying to win a starting position. It's about fitting in and helping the team."
Lopez reached base in 13 of his first 14 games.
"I'm thankful for the opportunity," Lopez said. "This is a great place to play baseball."
Robert Falkoff is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.