Shane McClanahan, the hard-throwing USF product, made history in October as the first pitcher in history to make his major-league debut in a postseason game.
Now he wants to make a bigger impact by sticking around as a member of the Rays’ pitching staff.
“Obviously, that’s my only goal,’' McClanahan said during a Zoom call Sunday from Port Charlotte after the Rays’ fourth spring workout. “I want to help this team win a lot of ballgames. And hopefully I can get the opportunity to do that again.’'
McClanahan, 23, was added to the team’s postseason roster as something of a secret weapon, having pitched only four times above Class A in his one full minor-league season, then debuting in relief during the American League Division Series against the Yankees.
Handling that experience — given the nerves and excitement that came with it, and pitching against Houston in the AL Championship Series and the Dodgers in the World Series — helps him going forward.
“It kind of makes me relax a little more, knowing that, ‘Hey, you can do it. You obviously did it, and it’s exciting,’’’ he said. “I want to go do more of it now.’'
McClanahan is back to working in his usual starter role, with an emphasis on being more consistent, and the possibility he could start the season at Triple A.
Manager Kevin Cash said the staff is raving about the left-hander’s stuff, but noting, “We’ve got to allow Shane Mac some time to get it all together, harness and find that consistency. But, man, he’s pretty talented.’'
McClanahan figures to be more comfortable in his second big-league spring training. Also because, as he did during last summer’s quarantine, he is living with pitcher Ryan Yarbrough and his wife, Nicole, though McClanahan wanted to clarify the situation.
“They asked me to live with them,’' he said. “I pay rent, I help out in the house. ... I don’t want to be a nuisance or a freeloader.’'
• Cash said all COVID-19 intake tests for position players came back negative, which was “very encouraging,’' and several came by the complex to work out. Two pitchers and three coaches have been sidelined due to COVID-19 protocol issues.
• Pitcher Chris Archer said he had COVID-19 in August, while rehabbing from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery in the Los Angeles area and living at a Four Seasons hotel that, while plush, had no balcony and a window that only opened a few inches. “COVID wasn’t too bad for me,’' he said. “It was more the fact that I was in a hotel, and I had to stay in a hotel room. … My mom was worried about (heart issues), she was worried about the lungs and everything, but for me it was more or less like the traditional flu.’'
• Reliever Diego Castillo and newly acquired catcher Francisco Mejia joined workouts Sunday, having been delayed due to quarantine and intake procedures after arriving from the Dominican Republic.