Rays journal: Ex-USF ace Shane McClanahan signs

Former USF LHP Shane McClanahan signed with the Rays on July 6, 2018. (USF Athletics)
Former USF LHP Shane McClanahan signed with the Rays on July 6, 2018. (USF Athletics)
Published July 6 2018

NEW YORK — A change of mind during discussions late Thursday led to a deadline day deal for USF LHP Shane McClanahan and the Rays.

The No. 31 overall pick signed for just about slot value at $2,230,100 to start his pro career rather than go back to the Bulls as a redshirt junior. McClanahan told teams in an email during last month's draft he wanted $3 million.

"The signing deadline can be a challenging time as emotions ramp up,'' Rays amateur scouting director Rob Metzler said Friday. "In an outcome that was not always certain, we are really happy with the result of the last 24 hours. Shane is a great talent to finalize a draft class we are excited about.''

McClanahan, 21, was 5-6, 3.42 ERA in 14 starts with 120 strikeouts in 76⅓ innings, started the season with a 31⅔-inning scoreless streak, and threw the first six innings of a combined no-hitter against Army with 15 strikeouts.

"We are thrilled to see Shane reach his dreams of playing professional baseball, especially at home with the Rays,'' USF coach Billy Mohl said. "It's a bittersweet day for both of us. He set a goal to leave USF as a first-round pick, and he achieved that goal through hard work and dedication. We couldn't be more proud. We will miss him … but we look forward to following his career closely."

McClanahan was a 26th-round pick of the Mets in 2015 out of Cape Coral High and was redshirted in 2016 at USF as he recovered from Tommy John elbow surgery. He will report to the Gulf Coast League Rays in Port Charlotte.

In also striking a deal with their 33rd-round pick, OF Beau Brundage, the Rays signed 35 of their 43 picks, including the top 23, spending about $13.8 million.

Archer set for Monday return

RHP Chris Archer and the staff agreed that one rehab assignment was enough, and he will rejoin the rotation Monday at home against the Tigers, though limited to 75 pitches, thus likely four-five innings. Archer has been out since June 3 with an abdominal strain, and the Rays recently have been using just two traditional starters. "He feels he's 100 percent healthy and given our current pitching situation, it's probably going to help us to continue, to get him back here and then build him up,'' manager Kevin Cash said. "We'll take those 75 pitches, whatever they are.''

Kolarek called up

LHP Adam Kolarek was called up to add a second lefty to the bullpen with Vidal Nuno joining Jonny Venters on the DL with hamstring strains. Kolarek, who debuted with the Rays last year, was 4-1, 1.70 in 29 games for Triple-A Durham and showed improvement in getting out right-handed hitters. "A funky lefty who really relies on ground balls,'' manager Kevin Cash said.

"By all of our reports he's improved this year. His fastball velocity has gone up. … He's started working in a changeup that can help give a different look to some right-hand hitters.'' To make room on the 40-man roster, the Rays DFA'd OF Jeremy Hazelbaker, who was hitting .189 at Durham.

Futures Game additions

Double-A INF Nate Lowe and Class A OF Jesus Sanchez were selected to represent the Rays in the July 15 All-Star Futures Game in Washington. Lowe, who will play for the U.S. team, is hitting .329 with a .990 OPS for the Biscuits after a promotion from Charlotte. Sanchez, a World team choice, is hitting .303 with an .800 OPS for the Stone Crabs. … Top pick, LHP Matt Liberatore, made his pro debut Friday, working 1⅔ innings for the GCL Rays, allowing a hit to his first batter, making an errant pickoff throw and walking the second, then settling down. … Triple-A Durham LHP Colin Poche, a likely callup at some point, was named the team's minor-league pitcher of the month, posting a 0.57 ERA with 28 strikeouts in 15⅔ innings. Class A Bowling Green C Ronaldo Hernandez was named the top player, hitting .366 with 10 homers and 25 RBIs in 22 games.

Medical matters

RHP Jake Faria (oblique strain) will start a rehab assignment Saturday with the advanced Class A Stone Crabs, though he's not eligible to return until July 22. … INF Christian Arroyo (oblique) is close to starting his rehab assignment, manager Kevin Cash said. … LHPs Jonny Venters (hamstring) and Vidal Nuno (hamstring) will be out until at least after the All-Star break, July 16-19.

Sign of the day

"I am sorry. I hope we can be cool again!"
Taped to a dugout water cooler by OF Carlos Gomez, who hit a couple of them during a dugout tantrum Wednesday. Gomez was not in the lineup Friday, but it wasn't for disciplinary reasons.

Quote of the day

"I tried to go back to middle school, but they wouldn't let me.''
Mets manager Mickey Callaway, joking when asked how he prepared to match with Rays manager Kevin Cash, his good buddy and former Indians coaching mate.

Miscellany

• The Rays entered Friday with a majors-most-matching 37 of their first 87 games (43 percent) decided by one run, and were 16-21.

• The Mets are calling up RHP Chris Flexen to start Sunday. He debuted in 2017 and made three relief appearances earlier this year.

• The last time the Rays were at Citi Field was in September, when they "hosted" the Yankees in a series relocated from the Trop due to Hurricane Irma. "The Mets organization, all the personnel were incredibly gracious,'' Rays manger Kevin Cash said. "They treated us really well.''

Times staff writer Joey Knight contributed to this report.

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