Monday, February 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Myers thrilled to get big-league call

Wil Myers said he didn't know when his time would come.

Myers, 22, the Rays' prized outfield prospect, noticed — and appreciated — fans clamoring on Twitter for his arrival to the majors during the first few months of his up-and-down season with Triple-A Durham. He felt he took big steps in becoming a more complete player and started to feel like a "big-league" hitter a few weeks ago.

But it wasn't until Sunday, coming off the field after the second inning, that Myers' lifelong dream was finally fulfilled.

He knew something was up when manager Charlie Montoyo had Brandon Guyer take his spot in rightfield. Montoyo told Myers he was out of the game and "may or may not" be going to the big leagues.

When Myers walked into the Bulls clubhouse, he found out for sure. He was given an itinerary by the team trainer for his trip to Boston, where he'll make his much-anticipated debut today for the Rays against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

"It's very exciting," Myers said Monday night. "Everything I've worked for all my life is finally coming true."

It took an eventful travel day Monday, with his flight to Boston re-directed due to bad weather and temporarily stuck on the runway due to lightning. But, at long last, Myers is in the show. His entire family was, coincidentally, in town on Father's Day, giving him a chance to share the moment with his parents, Eric and Pam, and his brother Beau. They'll also be there today in the stands, along with girlfriend Maggie Reaves, as Myers takes the field for the first time.

As much hype as he has garnered from being the reigning minor-league player of the year and the centerpiece of the blockbuster offseason trade with the Royals, Myers is pumped to be starting his career on a big stage, on an important road trip through Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium.

"I'm most excited about playing against the Red Sox and Yankees," Myers said. "Those are two teams that I saw when I was growing up, and they had all the great players. Finally, I'll be playing against them."

The Rays say Myers will play regularly, mostly in rightfield, but near the bottom of the order, which he admits will help "a lot" in easing the pressure on him.

"I just try to put that aside right now, the game changes once you get to the big leagues," Myers said. "It's all about winning."

Though Myers went through a rough stretch offensively earlier in the season, he said he was having good at-bats but "bad luck," hitting the ball right at people or missing his pitch. "I didn't really feel bad," Myers said. "It was one of those things I knew it would turn around."

Myers did just that, riding a hot streak that Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman acknowledged "accelerated the conversations" of bringing Myers up. The Rays finally believed he was ready this past week, and Myers said he had that feeling recently, too.

"I really felt good the last homestand," Myers said. "I felt good at the plate, I was recognizing pitches early. I was laying off good pitches, all out of the strike zone, I felt like a big-league hitter at the plate. It was one of those things that once the Rays saw I was ready, it would be time."

Myers will wear a new No.  9, but in a familiar spot, having hit a few homers over the Green Monster in 2009 in a predraft workout in front of Red Sox brass. Those who have seen him play say they won't be the last.

"He is going to be a star for a long time, I believe," Montoyo said. "He was fun to watch."

Information from the Durham-Herald Sun was used in to this report. Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected]

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