Monday, July 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Former Plant High standout Kyle Tucker gets called up by Astros, gets a hit in MLB debut

Times staff, wires

HOUSTON — Former Plant High standout Kyle Tucker was called up by the Astros from Triple-A Fresno.

The No. 5 overall pick in the 2015 draft started in leftfield and batted seventh Saturday in a 12-6 win against the White Sox. Tucker went 1-for-4, scored and had an RBI walk. His first hit, a single in the seventh inning, came after three strikeouts against veteran right-hander and former Ray James Shields, who fed him a steady diet of offspeed pitches.

At 21 years and 171 days, Tucker's the youngest active player in the American League.

"We're very proud of him. It's elation," Mike Tucker, in attendance with his wife, Lisa, said of their son.

"We were rushing all night long to get here because we were out of state. We were outside with his first at-bat," said Lisa; they got inside Minute Maid Park in the third inning.

"At least they missed my (first) strikeout," Tucker said.

Tucker was told of his call­up during the fourth inning of Friday night's game in Fresno. He phoned his parents in Tampa and his brother Preston, the Houston Chronicle reported. The Astros optioned outfielder Jake Marisnick to Fresno in a corresponding move.

"It was awesome," Tucker said after his debut. "I had a lot of fun tonight and came up with a win so that makes it even better. Just being in the big leagues was awesome and being around, especially this team, they have so much fun."

"Our team got better by adding him," said manager A.J. Hinch, noting the plan is for Tucker to play on a daily basis in left or right.

Tucker said he was glad to put the three strikeouts behind him with the two-out, line-drive single to right off White Sox reliever Bruce Rondon.

"I mean it was kind of a relief to put a ball forward, especially after those first three strikeouts," he said. "But you're going to strike out at times, you're going to have some bad ABs, bad games and you just have to grind through that and move on to the next AB."

Hinch noted that the 39,568 in attendance were all behind Tucker, even after he fouled one off.

"That's about as loud a cheer for even a foul ball that I've heard," Hinch said.

"He handled the day well. He'll sleep well tonight."

Tucker, ranked the No. 8 prospect in baseball by mlb.com, hit .306 with 24 doubles, 14 home runs and 66 RBIs for Fresno and was named to the Pacific Coast League All-Star team.

As a nonroster invitee to spring training earlier in the year, he went 18-for-44 with five home runs and 21 RBIs.

Older brother Preston, 28, who also starred at Plant and Florida, is an outfielder on the Braves' 40-man roster and currently playing for Triple-A Gwinnett. He was traded by the Astros in December.

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