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Tuesday August 3, 2010 5:02 pm

Jeremy Hellickson debuts for Tampa Bay Rays by crushing Minnesota




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, MLB,

Jeremy HellicksonJust three years ago, the Tampa Bay Rays were the laughing stock of the American League. With a World Series appearance in 2008, they served notice that the kids were finally ready to compete with the Yankees and the Red Sox, leapfrogging in talent over Baltimore and Toronto.  While not exactly baseball’s biggest stage, the Rays served notice again that their system is still full of talent when they brought up pitcher Jeremy Hellickson to make a start against the Minnesota Twins on Monday night.

Hellickson was the Rays’ top pitching prospect not with the big club before Monday’s start, and he did not disappoint. After retiring 10 straight Twins to start his major league career, Hellickson got his first dose of reality when he gave up a run on a walk and two singles. He gave up another run in the sixth, but otherwise cruised to his first major league win having thrown seven innings giving up three hits and two walks and striking out six.

Hellickson was rewarded for his win with a ticket back to Triple-A Durham. Some may see this as an insult to the kid, but to think that his was anything other than a one-off start is wrong. The Rays needed a spot start from somebody and decided to let Hellickson give Joe Madden and the fans a chance to see what the next generation of Rays pitching could offer. Now they know, and so do you.

Carl Pavano, Hellickson’s counterpart in Monday’s game, is having a fantastic season with Minnesota after some tough times in New York and Cleveland, yet not even his new mustache could stand up to the Rays’ 23-year-old hurler. Hellickson is gone once again, but his win proved that he’s ready to compete in the American League. He’ll likely join the club again in September for the Rays’ latest playoff run, although how he’ll be used remains to be seen. After what Madden did with David Price in 2008, it would not be surprising to see Hellickson coming out of the bullpen and do whatever it takes to improve on the Rays’ finish two seasons ago.

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