Rays calling up top prospect LHP Blake Snell to start Saturday
UPDATE, 5:33: Manager Kevin Cash said the plan is for Snell to make one start and then go back to Triple-A. Cash said he earned the call-up, and doesn't expect him to be rattled.
Also, Snell will wear No. 4, the first Rays pitcher in single digits. The lowest previous number for a Tampa Bay pitcher was 11, worn by Hideo Nomo.
DEVELOPING: The Rays are calling up top prospect LHP Blake Snell to make his major-league debut at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, the Tampa Bay Times has learned.
Snell is 1-1, 2,51 in three starts for Triple-A Durham, striking out 21 in 14 1/2 innings while allowing 15 hits and seven walks.
In the midst of playing nine straight, the Rays needed a fifth starter for Saturday. They had been planning on using RHP Erasmo Ramirez, but he was needed in relief on Thursday in Boston.
Snell, 23, made a rapid rise through the Rays system last year, moving from advanced Class A Charlotte to Double-A Montgomery to Durham, and was being considered for a September callup but the Rays fell out of the playoff race.
Snell, responding to a text on his flight to New York, said he was thrilled to make this debut on such a big stage.
"Can't have dreamed of a better way,'' Snell said. "It's really such an amazing time for me. And I'm really fortunate to be in this situation.''
Snell is already on the Rays 40-man roster, but they will have to make room on the 25-man active roster. That move may not come until after tonight's game.
The next question is whether Snell is making just a cameo appearance or if will stick around. With several more off-days coming up, the Rays could go as late as May 10 before they need a fifth starter again.
Keeping Snell in the majors from here on out would make him eligible for arbitration a year sooner.