Three pitching prospects were called to the big leagues Friday, and two of them will start for their teams on Saturday.
The silver lining for Orioles fans after Wednesday’s shellacking by the Rangersâ€”when Baltimore surrendered 30 runs in the first game of a doubleheader, and nine more in the secondâ€”is that it hastened the big league debut of righthander Radhames Liz.
Signed from the Dominican Republic in 2003, Liz gets the nod for Saturday’s start against the Twins. The 24-year-old flamethrower hurled the rare nine-inning, minor league no-hitter June 1 for Double-A Bowie, and tossed an eight-inning one-hitter Aug. 14. Overall, Liz went 11-4, 3.22 with 161-70 K-BB in 137 innings for Bowie.
Astros lefthander Troy Patton tamed two hitter’s leagues on his way to a big league rotation turn Saturday versus the Pirates. He went a combined 10-8, 3.51 with 93-44 K-BB in 151 1/3 innings between Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Round Rock.
Patton, 21, joins fellow rookie Matt Albers in the Houston rotation, and he replaces another one in Juan Gutierrez, who was optioned to Round Rock. A ninth-round pick from a Texas high school in 2004, Patton is a savvy lefthander featuring a quality fastball, changeup and curveball. The Astros expect him to stick around for a while.
Royals righthander Billy Buckner was added to the big league roster when outfielder Mark Teahen hit the disabled list with a left elbow strain. Though he’ll pitch out of the bullpen initially, Buckner, a second-round pick from South Carolina in 2004, could play his way into a starting role.
The Royals’ rotation has just four pitchersâ€”Gil Meche, Brian Bannister, Zack Greinke and Kyle Daviesâ€”penciled in as starters, so Buckner, 23, could get a turn when the fifth spot comes up next. He went 10-10, 3.92 with 96-32 K-BB in 124 minor league innings this seasonâ€”and 9-7, 3.78 for Triple-A Omaha. Buckner’s 12-to-6 spike curveball is his strikeout pitch.
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