You always remember your first one, and for Jake Odorizzi it happened right here at Kauffman Stadium, where he took the mound as a 22-year-old on a Sunday afternoon in September 2012 for the first time as a major-leaguer.
Odorizzi will be back on that mound this afternoon, pitching against the Royals for the Rays, having been traded a few months later with OF Wil Myers in the deal for RHP James Shields.
"Anytime you make your debut, it's going to be special regardless of where it's at, and going back to wherever it is you're going to have those type of memories," Odorizzi said. "I have good memories of pitching here, and will probably make some more good ones" today.
Odorizzi said his debut provided a good lesson in how a game can change quickly at the big-league level, as he took a 1-0 lead over Cleveland into the sixth and quickly allowed three runs in a five-pitch span in what ended up a 15-4 loss.
"It really kind of escalated quickly, for lack of a better term from Anchorman," Odorizzi said. "I was like, dang, if you're not focused and making your pitches against a big-league lineup, they can hurt you really quickly, so I think that was a good learning experience right out of the gate."
Odorizzi pitched once at Kauffman before his debut, starting the 2012 All-Star Futures Game.
Odorizzi said facing the Royals in a relief outing at the Trop last June desensitized him from feeling anything special about his ex-mates.
BELL RELIEVED: RHP Heath Bell said he felt better after hearing that Royals 2B Omar Infante sustained only a cut on his face and sprained jaw after Bell hit him in the face with a pitch Monday. "I'm relieved," Bell said. "Prayers went out, and I feel like my prayers from the mound and after the game did him some good."
Bell's 2 2/3-inning outing was his longest since Oct.1, 2007, when he also worked 22/3 for the Padres in the Game 163 tiebreaker at Colorado.
BELIVEAU ON THE MOVE: LHP Jeff Beliveau invited RHP Nathan Karns over after Triple-A Durham's game Monday to watch the NCAA Tournament final, and they got to wondering how the Rays would replace injured LHP Matt Moore on the roster. "We were kind of looking stuff up, playing GM," Beliveau said. "I didn't give it much thought."
That changed when his phone rang at 8:30 a.m., and Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo told him he had an 11 a.m. flight and was headed to Kansas City. Having been called up four times last year, though pitching only his last time, Beliveau said, "I'm ready for whatever they throw at me."
MISCELLANY: David DeJesus started in leftfield, his first outfield appearance since fouling a ball off his foot in the March 31 opener. ... The Reds changed their rotation, again, for the weekend series against the Rays, now starting RHP Johnny Cueto on Friday, RHP Alfredo Simon on Saturday and LHP Tony Cingrani on Sunday. ... First-pitch temperature Tuesday was 59 degrees.