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Ryan Thompson Shares Big Moment With Father

Righthander Ryan Thompson had no reason to be paying attention to the Rule 5 draft in December 2018.

The 23rd-round pick in 2014 from Campbell was in the midst of rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and wasn’t sure he had a future with the Astros—or any other team.

He had no clue how much his career was about to change when the Rays picked him in the Triple-A phase of the draft.

The 6-foot-5, 210-pound Thompson reached Double-A in late May last year but was hit by a line drive and missed six weeks with a broken toe. He pitched 23.1 innings in 16 games with a 2.70 ERA between Double-A and high Class A.

But the Rays liked his stuff and invited him to big league camp.

The 28-year-old impressed in spring training and did so again when he was back in Port Charlotte, Fla., for summer camp.

But nothing prepared him for the FaceTime call he got during a workout break two days before the season was to start. He received the news he wasn’t sure he would ever hear: he was going to the big leagues and would be on the Opening Day roster to boot.

"It was a bizarre moment for me," Thompson said. "You visualize it. You imagine it constantly. And when it happens it’s one of those things where you never truly expect it, no matter how much pride, or no matter how much you believe in yourself. You never truly expect that moment to happen.

"And when it did, it was a beautiful moment. It was something I’ll never forget.”

Ryan’s father Edwin, who got him into baseball and kept him interested when he wanted to quit along the path, wanted to be part of the occasion. So he took off work and flew cross country from Oregon to Florida just to sit nearby, watching the game at Ferg’s Sports Bar & Grill, a popular hangout across the street from Tropicana Field.

Afterward, they got to share the moment—in a socially distanced way. Ryan just had to look for the grown man with tears in his eyes.


— With little path to the majors given the abundance of middle infield prospects in the organization, Lucius Fox, a key part of the return from the 2016 Matt Moore trade to San Francisco, was traded to the Royals for outfielder Brett Phillips.

— Seeking to add game-ready pitching depth given a slew of injuries at the big league level, the Rays signed lefty Dietrich Enns from the Tully Monsters in the independent City of Champions Cup. Enns, 29, spent time with the Twins in 2017, and has also been in the Yankees and Padres organizations. He was added to the 60-player pool and joined the alternate site workouts in Port Charlotte.

— Two other middle infield prospects were late additions to the player pool: 2019 first-rounder Greg Jones and Xavier Edwards, who was acquired from the Padres in the Tommy Pham trade.

Ryan Thompson Alextrautwiggetty

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