De Leon earns win in debut with Rays

No. 3 prospect called up Monday to bolster bullpen

De Leon earns win in debut with Rays

ARLINGTON -- Prior to the Rays' 10-8 win over the Rangers, highly rated pitching prospect Jose De Leon was recalled from Triple-A Durham. After the game, he was optioned back to Durham.

But the right-hander did get his first action as a member of the Rays organization. De Leon experienced a less-than-auspicious debut, allowing three runs on four hits, including a home run and two walks, while striking out two and throwing two wild pitches in 2 2/3 innings. Ironically, he came away from the experience by earning the win.

"You're going to have some days when your stuff is going to be there," De Leon said. "Those are great days. There are going to be some days when you don't have your stuff. And that's the difference-maker. Make the best out of those days that you're not feeling great.

"I was making some adjustments. ... After the first inning, I was able to settle down and kind of take it one pitch at a time and execute one pitch."

As for coming away with the win?

"That's baseball," said De Leon with a smile.

De Leon fans Gallo in the 6th

To make room for De Leon's recall, the Rays optioned right-hander Ryan Garton to Triple-A Durham. The move came in the aftermath of Sunday's 15-inning and 6-hour, 26-minute win over the Twins. Thus, De Leon was brought in to add depth to the Rays' bullpen. A corresponding move after sending De Leon back to Durham will be made Tuesday.

"Obviously we needed somebody to cover us," Rays manager Kevin Cash said before the game. "We asked a lot of some guys [on Sunday] and they performed really well for us. ... We needed somebody to give us some depth. It was Jose's day to start. Some of our other options in Triple-A had thrown quite a bit. This is a guy that we think really highly of. I know his early season has been sidetracked by injury, but he can definitely provide some depth for us."

De Leon, Tampa Bay's No. 3 prospect and No. 28 overall as ranked by MLBPipeline.com, made his Major League debut for the Dodgers in 2016, going 2-0 with a 6.35 ERA. He was traded to the Rays for infielder Logan Forsythe during the offseason.

The right-hander went 1-0 with a 2.16 ERA in two starts for Class A Advanced Charlotte before being promoted to Triple-A Durham, where he allowed four earned runs in four innings in his only start for the Bulls.

De Leon, 24, was drafted by the Dodgers in the 24th round in '13. He improved his conditioning and polished his mechanics and led the Minor Leagues in strikeouts per nine innings (12.8) in '15.

Worth noting

The Rays had a lot of activity in Port Charlotte on Monday. Right-hander Brad Boxberger (right flexor strain) threw a 20-pitch live batting practice and catcher Wilson Ramos (recovering from torn ACL) caught him. Second baseman Brad Miller (left-abdominal strain) hit against Boxberger and "had a really good day," according to Cash.

"He took at-bats and then also ran really well," Cash said. "He's supposed to play tomorrow for [Class A] Charlotte."

Ramos is slated to take at-bats in an extended spring action on Tuesday. Shortstop Matt Duffy (recovery from Achilles surgery) did not hit as expected on Monday due to continued problems with his left big toe.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.