Rea to make first Major League start Tuesday

Padres' top pitching prospect will take spot of Despaigne, who moves to 'pen

Rea to make first Major League start Tuesday

SAN DIEGO -- San Diego's top pitching prospect, Colin Rea, will make his first Major League start Tuesday, when the Padres face the Reds at Petco Park.

Rea, ranked No. 2 on the Padres' Top 30 Prospects list, will take over for Odrisamer Despaigne, whose turn was up in the rotation. Despaigne will move to the bullpen.

The 25-year-old right-hander from Cascade, Iowa, made an appearance in the All-Star Futures Game on July 12, after starting the season with a 1.08 ERA, 60 strikeouts and 11 walks in 75 innings (12 starts) for Double-A San Antonio. He was promoted to Triple-A El Paso in early July and has a 4.39 ERA in six starts since being promoted. The Padres drafted Rea in the 12th round of the 2011 Draft out of Indiana State University.

Complete coverage of Padres prospects on PadresPipeline.com

"He's been a guy that has progressed the last couple of years. A lot of our people in our player development department have had a lot of confidence in him over the last couple of years," assistant general manager Josh Stein said before Sunday's game against the Phillies. "He can really attack the strike zone and has started to really believe in his stuff the last couple of years. It's exciting, it's also exciting when we bring up one of our own."

Stein added that Rea's velocity has picked up the last couple of years and he's achieved better command of his fastball. He said that Rea's development physically and gaining more confidence led to him getting the call for Tuesday.

"Whenever a rookie gets a chance, or whenever a young player you have had history with gets a chance to come up and compete, you are almost nervous for him, but it's just a great time," interim manager Pat Murphy said. "It will be a good beginning for him, a great learning experience -- so I am looking forward to it."

Murphy spent time with Rea when he managed the Class A Short Season Eugene Emeralds and complimented Rea's willingness to learn.

"I am looking for him to just come in and be himself. It's hard to do when you first get here, but if he just settles in, and I think his teammates will be a big key to get through it," Murphy said. "He will get that [the start] under his belt the first time out and just get better every single time."

Stein elaborated on the plan for Despaigne.

"[He will] be available to pitch somewhat similar to how we anticipated it to be the beginning of the year, when Brandon Morrow was in the rotation," Stein said. "Odrisamer was kind of always that very traditional long-man type of role and he will go back to that, and frankly give us more of a traditional bullpen."

Beth Maiman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.