Rays add another arm to taxed 'pen; struggling shortstop optioned, Goebbert designated
By Sam Blum
ST. PETERSBURG -- Ryan Garton didn't think anything was out of the ordinary when Durham pitching coach Kyle Snyder called the righty into his office following Tuesday's game in Toledo. He had been planning to go over some of his pitches anyway.
He was oblivious when the Triple-A manager and pitching coach peppered him with questions about his role and his season. They told Garton that he'd been doing well, and then offered him a beer. At first, he was reluctant to accept it, because they'd lost 5-0 to the Mud Hens.
But when it came with an offer to get called up to the Tampa Bay Rays, he was ready to celebrate.
"It went down quick," Garton said with a laugh.
Garton, a Clearwater, Fla., native, put on a Major League uniform for the first time Wednesday at Tropicana Field. Garton recorded a 2.38 ERA in 22 2/3 innings with Durham this season. He's been with the Rays' organization since being drafted in the 34th round in 2012.
The Rays sent shortstop Tim Beckham down to Durham and designated Jake Goebbert for assignment to make room for Garton. Beckham had been hitting just .185 with two home runs and five RBIs in 54 at-bats this season. He was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 Draft by the Rays.
"Today Garton gets the opportunity to come here at the expense of Tim Beckham," manager Kevin Cash said. "It was difficult. [Beckham has] played a pretty big role with us the past year and a half or so."
The move adds an eighth member to a heavily used Tampa Bay bullpen. Rays starters have had trouble pitching deep into games, leading to the callups of Tyler Sturdevant and Garton.
Garton will be a versatile option for Cash. He's pitched as many as four innings during a game this season, but has also recorded two saves. Garton said his cutter has been a good pitch for him in Durham, and his curveball has been getting good depth.
He grew up going to games at Tropicana Field his whole life. Wednesday marked the first time he would have a chance to play in one.
"I still don't think it's real," Garton said. "It could be a dream."
Sam Blum is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.