Rays welcome familiar faces and their No. 5 prospect to Tropicana Field on Thursday night.
Drafted by the San Diego Padres in 2013, Jake Bauers was dealt to the Rays as part of the Wil Myers trade in December of 2014. The trade sent CF Wil Myers, C Ryan Hanigan, LHP Jose Castillo and RHP Gerardo Reyes to San Diego, while Bauers, C Rene Rivera, and RHP Burch Smith came to Tampa Bay.
On Thursday, Bauers made his Major League debut at Tropicana Field — a 5-4 loss to the Seattle Mariners. At 22 years and 244 days old, he’s the youngest position player to appear in a game for the Rays since, the man he was dealt for, Myers debuted in 2013.
“It felt good,” he said after the game. “Not too jittery, not too over-the-top anxious on anything.”
Perhaps the hardest thing for rookies to adjust to when they join the Rays, the Tropicana Field roof seemed to be no match for Bauers after getting some work in before the game.
“There was no worries,” he said. “I was out there before the game doing some work with that. I missed the first popup by about eight feet and then after that kinda got the hang of it.”
Time has come
An all-star at two levels of the Rays’ organization (High-A Charlotte in 2015 and Double-A Montgomery in 2016), Bauers went 0-for-4 in his debut. In his first at-bat he lined out to Seattle’s left fielder. Two weeks ago that scenario was just not possible. You know, since the Mariners’ left fielder is Denard Span and he was on the Rays roster until a May 25th trade sent him to the Pacific Northwest.
The second time through the order Bauers again roped a line-drive. However, this time it went straight into the glove of Seattle second baseman Dee Gordon. A groundout in the sixth inning was followed by his first major-league strikeout, in the ninth.
Although unable to pick up a hit in his first game as a big leaguer, he drew high praise from his manager Kevin Cash after the game.
“In my opinion, pretty impressive debut,” Cash said of the rookie first baseman. “Made some plays and had a lot of good at-bats, a lot of hard outs.” He went on to say that “if he keeps swinging like he did tonight he’s gonna get a lot of hits and he’s gonna have a lot of success.”
Bauers brought the home fans, all 10,342 of them, to their feet in the fifth inning. With his first base counterpart Ryon Healy batting, the former 7th round pick flashed some leather to help Austin Pruitt (1-3; 4.57) retire the side.
First big league highlight. ✅
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) June 8, 2018
To make room on the 25-man roster, the Rays DFA’d utility-man Brad Miller. Despite a 3-hit effort in his final appearance with the club on June 6, Miller was unable to sustain success — posting a slash line of .231/.315/.427 — during his two-plus years with the Rays.
Ryne Stanek (1-1; 3.38) made just the third start of his career. His day was done after allowing a hit, walking two, and throwing 30 pitches in the first inning. Pruitt — who pitched seven innings, struck out six, and allowed five runs on seven hits — entered the game in the second inning.
The Rays have used 12 different starting pitchers this season — the most they’ve used since becoming the “Rays” in 2008. Last year the team needed only eight starters to complete the 162 game season.
In the fifth inning, the Rays paid tribute to long-time closer Alex Colome. He’s recorded the second-most saves (95) in franchise history, behind Roberto Hernandez (105). With nobody out in the ninth inning and Wilson Ramos on second base, Colome secured the victory in typical Colome fashion. He loaded the bases before surrendering a bases-clearing double to Johnny Field, bringing the Rays within a run. But that’s as close as Tampa Bay got.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) June 8, 2018
Wilmer Font (0-2; 9.78) will get the ball first for the Rays on Friday. It’s his home debut for Tampa Bay. Seattle will counter with left-hander Marco Gonzales (6-3; 3.38). First pitch is scheduled for 7:10pm on FOX Sports Sun.
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