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For Rays’ Easton McGee, debut was incredible, intense, unbelievable

Notes | An unexpected call-up from Triple-A leads to an amazing experience for the 24-year-old pitcher.
Rays relief pitcher Easton McGee delivers during the sixth inning of his MLB debut, Sunday against the Astros.
Rays relief pitcher Easton McGee delivers during the sixth inning of his MLB debut, Sunday against the Astros. [ KEVIN M. COX | AP ]
Published Oct. 3|Updated Oct. 3

HOUSTON — Making your major-league debut is always special.

Especially on Sunday for Easton McGee, a 24-year-old who was an unexpected call-up from Triple-A last week to add a fresh arm and is not considered among the Rays’ top pitching prospects.

“That was pretty incredible,” McGee said. “It was everything I dreamed it would be. It was nerve-racking. It was intense. It was unbelievable.”

McGee didn’t get a soft landing either, summoned to replace Corey Kluber in the sixth inning of a 2-1 game with Houston, and starting by facing All-Stars Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker — and getting both out. He ended up working three innings, allowing four hits and allowing only an unearned run. And wife Jenna was on hand to see it.

“I couldn’t ask for a better debut,” he said. “I’m just really happy.”

McGee said he was more nervous getting ready to go in than when he actually got to the mound, though bouncing his first pitch seemed to show otherwise. (He also got confused where to stand during the seventh-inning God Bless America break.)

“It was more just leading up to it, most of the nerves,” he said. “Once I started running out there, I felt a lot calmer, honestly.”

Medical matters

Lefty-hitting outfielder David Peralta left after his first at-bat due to right hip tightness but said after the game that he was feeling better and should only be out a day or two. … Manager Kevin Cash said third baseman Yandy Diaz is “fine” but won’t play much over the final regular-season games to rest his sore left shoulder and be ready for the playoff series. … Shortstop Wander Franco was off Sunday after getting a DH day Saturday; Cash said it was just for rest and to “freshen up” his legs.

Roster shuffling

Catcher Francisco Mejia is expected to leave the team during the Boston series to return to Florida to be with his wife, Sorivel, for the birth of their third child. Rene Pinto will join the Rays from Triple-A Durham and be available if Mejia isn’t back for Friday’s playoff opener. … Reliever Jalen Beeks said his right leg was feeling better and he was ready to be activated Monday, the first day he is eligible to come off the 15-day injured list. Cash said before Sunday’s game they weren’t sure yet what they would do. There would seem to be room, as after throwing 46 pitches McGee is likely to be sent down. … Could infielder/outfielder Vidal Brujan be rejoining the Rays? He curiously wasn’t in the lineup for Triple-A Durham in Sunday night’s national championship game after going 4-for-5 Saturday.

Miscellany

Tyler Glasnow on Monday makes his second start since returning from August 2021 Tommy John surgery, increasing his projected workload slightly to four innings or 60-65 pitches. … Ji-Man Choi continued his warming trend with two hits and a walk and is 5-for-his-last-14. … After beating Nashville (Brewers) for the International League title Saturday, Durham on Sunday faced Reno (Diamondbacks). ... Sunday was the rookie dress-up trip, with a loose super hero theme. Some of the costumes were Miles Mastrobuoni as Spider-Man, Isaac Paredes as the Incredible Hulk, McGee as a Ghostbuster. Though not a rookie, reliever Jason Adam, regretfully, told teammates he had not dressed up with previous teams and had a Black Panther costume in his locker. “I didn’t think it would backfire on me,” he said as he pulled it on.

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