Friday, November 17, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Mitchell High's Garton reaches majors with hometown Rays

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ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Ryan Garton was asked by Triple-A Durham pitching coach Kyle Snyder to stick around the ballpark Tuesday after the Bulls' loss at Toledo. Garton was more than willing because he had some pitching topics he wanted to discus with Snyder and manager Jared Sandberg.

Sandberg asked Garton to assess his role on the team. Garton, who pitched as many as four innings in relief during one game this season, said "versatile." Then Sandberg offered Garton a beer and informed the pitcher he was headed to the big leagues.

"It went down quick," Garton said of the beer. "It was awesome. It was crazy, a crazy feeling."

Garton, 26, a native of Clearwater and a product of Mitchell High in New Port Richey, joined the Rays on Wednesday to add a fresh arm to an overworked bullpen.

INF Tim Beckham was optioned to Durham to clear room on the roster.

With RHP Erasmo Ramirez not available Wednesday against the Marlins after throwing 54 pitches Monday, the Rays needed another reliever who could pitch multiple innings.

"We got a second Erasmo," Rays manager Kevin Cash said.

Garton recorded at least four outs in nine of his 14 appearances with Durham. He also recorded two saves.

"Whenever they need me, I can do whatever they need me to do," Garton said.

A 34th-round pick in the 2012 draft, Garton grew up attending Rays games at Tropicana Field. Tampa products Wade Boggs and Fred McGriff were his favorite players. That he could make his big-league debut in the same stadium makes the moment even more special.

"Oh, a hundred percent," he said. "I'm getting texts from all the guys I played with. They're like, 'Dude, this is like a fairy tale for you, playing in your home town.' Coming to games here. I still don't think it's real. It could still be a dream."

BECK HEADS TO DURHAM: Beckham, the 25th man on the roster during the first six weeks of the season, became the odd man out when the Rays decided to go with an eight-man bullpen.

What little playing time Beckham received this season — 54 at-bats in 17 games — now belongs to utilityman Taylor Motter. His demotion Wednesday can't be a good sign for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 draft.

"Beck's played a pretty big role with us over the last year and a half or so," Cash said. "That's a tough conversation, but it should be good for him to get down there and get some consistent ABs, and then we'll kind of revisit where we're at in a couple of series from now."

BACK HOME: Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez, an Alonso High product, makes his third career start against the Rays this afternoon during the finale of this four-game, home-and-home series.

"It's always great to come back here," the Cuban native said. "It was the first ballpark that I went to when I got to America. So it's a special place, and the fact that I'm playing and pitching here, it's just a dream how I got here. It's always cool to be here. Obviously, I'll have friends and I'll have family here, and that's always good to see."

NOTEWORTHY: Durham INF Jake Goebbert was designated for assignment to clear room on the 40-man roster for Garton. … RHP Brad Boxberger (adductor surgery) allowed one hit in one inning Wednesday for Double-A Montgomery. He's scheduled to make at least one more rehab appearance Friday for Montgomery.

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