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Rays summon top pitching prospect Shane Baz to start Monday

Notebook | The 22-year-old, who began the season at Double-A, will make his debut against the Blue Jays.
Rays manager Kevin Cash on Shane Baz: “To move though Double-A and Triple-A, he advanced his progression about as much as any of us could have imagined."
Rays manager Kevin Cash on Shane Baz: “To move though Double-A and Triple-A, he advanced his progression about as much as any of us could have imagined." [ WILL VRAGOVIC | Tampa Bay Rays ]
Published Sep. 18
Updated Sep. 19

ST. PETERSBURG — Top pitching prospect Shane Baz is being called up and will make his major-league debut Monday against the Blue Jays.

The promotion will cap an impressive three-level jump for the 22-year-old right-hander, who began the season at Double-A, moved to Triple-A and — after competing for Team USA at the Olympics — will now join the Rays.

“There will be a bit of a crash course to learn a little more about him,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “To move though Double-A and Triple-A, he advanced his progression about as much as any of us could have imagined. We’re excited to get him up here and hand him the ball.”

Baz was under consideration to be called up to start Friday, but those discussions became moot when he experienced a slight back spasm as the result of a sneeze. He felt fine throwing a bullpen session Friday with Durham, and will join the Rays Sunday as a taxi squad member before being activated Monday.

Baz is 5-4, 2.06 overall this season with Montgomery and Durham, striking out 113 in 78 2/3 innings and walking only 13. At Triple-A, he is 3-0. 1.76 in 10 games, with 69 strikeouts and 11 walks in 46 innings. He was acquired from the Pirates in July 2018 along with Austin Meadows and Tyler Glasnow for Chris Archer.

Medical matters: McClanahan, Cruz, Franco

Rookie lefty Shane McClanahan is set to come off the injured list and start Sunday, with no issues from the back stiffness that sidelined him after cropping up before and during his Sept. 8 start in Boston. “We’ve knocked it out, and I feel really good, ready to go,” he said.

DH Nelson Cruz was out of the lineup for a second straight day, still sore after being hit by a pitch on the right forearm Thursday. “Want to make sure that he is completely right, and when he gets back in there, he’s not having to make swing adjustments because of the pain in his forearm and shooting down his hand,” Cash said.

Shortstop Wander Franco continues to progress in his rehab from a right hamstring strain, with the potential to return as soon as Tuesday. He hit and took some ground balls on the field Saturday and will do so again Sunday, as well as go through a full pre-game workout Monday. “Then we’ll see where it can go from there,” Cash said.

More medical: Wisler, Archer, Thompson

Reliever Matt Wisler, who made the one-day return from right middle finger inflammation Sept. 8 and went back on the injured list, is slated to begin throwing in a few days, with a potential bullpen session Thursday or Friday. But his return remains uncertain. … Archer continues to seek additional medical opinions on the source of the left hip discomfort that sidelined him Sept. 12. … Reliever Ryan Thompson’s season is likely over as additional tests have yet to yield the cause of his shoulder issue. … Pitcher Chris Mazza was reinstated from the COVID-19-related list and rejoined Durham.

Miscellany

⋅ Saturday’s game drew a season-high crowd of 22,191; this final homestead includes $10 tickets and some reduced concessions.

⋅ Starter Michael Wacha, a longtime National Leaguer, pinch-ran in the ninth for catcher Mike Zunino. Cash said he made the move after he asked strength and conditioning assistant Joey Greany who was faster and got a quick reply.

⋅ Tigers outfielder Derek Hill was taken off the field with a left knee injury after a collision with Ji-Man Choi at first base and an awkward fall.

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