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Rays prospect Romero to make big-league debut

ST. PETERSBURG — Shortly after the Rays ran through most of their bullpen and scheduled Sunday starter Jeremy Hellickson in winning Friday's marathon, 22-year-old pitching prospect Enny Romero posted a 2:30 a.m. tweet from his Dominican home that seemed at the time like little more than wishful thinking:

"I could come and pitch tomorrow," with a smiley-face.

Well, by Saturday night it became reality, as the Rays announced that the hard-throwing left-hander was being recalled and will make his major-league debut Sunday by starting against the Orioles.

Romero had a solid season at Double-A Montgomery, going 11-7, 2.76 with 110 strikeouts, although 73 walks, in 140 innings and earned his second selection to the All-Star Futures Game. He was promoted to Triple-A Durham at season's end and made one start, throwing eight shutout innings — against the Orioles' Triple-A Norfolk team.

With Hellickson and RHP Jake Odorizzi unavailable after pitching Friday, and not wanting to use Monday starter RHP Chris Archer on short rest, the Rays had limited options for today, either veteran RHP Roberto Hernandez, a combination of relievers, or Triple-A standout J.D. Martin (who is not on the 40-man roster).

Earlier, the Rays created a spot on the 40-man roster by trading LHP Frank De Los Santos to the White Sox for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

That could be to make room to reinstate RHP Jesse Crain, whom they acquired from the White Sox for players to be named or cash considerations, from the 60-day DL. De Los Santos, 25, missed part of the season with injury and went 1-2, 5.34 in 26 appearances for Triple-A Durham. Crain is in line to be activated today after recovering from a shoulder strain.

LAST CALL CALLUP: LHP Jeff Beliveau was told after Durham's loss in the Triple-A championship game Tuesday that he wasn't being called up and drove home to Rhode Island assuming his season was over.

"I was ready to either play winter ball or just shut it down," he said.

So you can understand his surprise Friday night when he was in a Providence bar celebrating a friend's birthday and got a call at 1 a.m. from the Rays saying he was needed in St. Petersburg on Saturday and was booked on a 7 a.m. flight. He headed home, grabbed a couple hours sleep and one of the suitcases he had yet to unpack and was back in the big leagues. His next goal? To get in a game. This is the fourth time he has been called up, and he has yet to pitch for the Rays.

MISCELLANY: The Rays won the season series from the Orioles, so they would hold the tiebreaker. … CF Desmond Jennings hit his first career three-run homer; his first 36 were solo or two-run shots. He is the first Ray with a homer and a triple in the same game since Ben Zobrist on Aug. 24, 2012. … RHP Fernando Rodney had his 16th scoreless outing in his past 17. … Due to Bucs conflicts, the Rays are bumped up the radio dial today and Monday to 1250-AM and 97.9-FM. … INF Tim Beckham and C Chris Gimenez will sign autographs for kids from 12:30-1 p.m. along the rightfield line.

Rays prospect Romero to make big-league debut 09/21/13 [Last modified: Saturday, September 21, 2013 10:24pm]

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