ST. PETERSBURG — INF Tim Beckham arrived at Tropicana Field on Wednesday, called up by the Tampa Bay Rays for the final 12 games of the season to add depth to the infield defense and experience life as a big-leaguer, which could serve as the final piece of his development.
“He may not hardly get on the field, but when you get a guy up here and he feels what it's like, that can do something for his confidence,” manager Joe Maddon said. “Just being here and watching this could help.”
Beckham was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 draft. His six seasons in the Rays system included two full seasons at Triple-A Durham.
“It would have been great if it was a two- or three-year process, but you got to play the cards how you're dealt,” he said when asked about his slow rise through the farm system. “Sometimes it takes a guy longer than the next guy. You can't look at another guy's success and line it up against yours.”
Beckham was told after the Bulls lost Tuesday's Triple-A national championship game that he was getting his first big-league call-up. His dad was at the game, so he was glad the two were able to share the big moment.
“It's a blessing. It's been a long ride, a lot of hard work ... and I'm here,” Beckham said.
Beckham, the one-time shortstop of the future is now a middle infielder. He might have reached the big leagues last season when the Rays were desperate for infielders, but a 50-game suspension for failing minor league baseball's drug prevention policy after testing positive of marijuana use delayed his promotion by another season.
“Of course he would have liked to accelerate (his development) a bit, but he did come out as a high school kid and there was a lot he had to learn,” Maddon said. “I've seen guys go one step at a time and eventually become really good baseball players. … You just have to be patient sometimes. I would really be patient with this kid, because the makeup is that good.”
Crain almost ready
RHP Jesse Crain (right shoulder strain) is scheduled to throw 20 pitches this afternoon during an Instructional League game in Sarasota.
Maddon said the Rays want Crain to pitch in a setting more accelerated than the live batting practice he threw Monday. Maddon said Crain could be activated and join the bullpen if all goes well.
“I think it's the right thing to do,” Maddon said. “This is one of those patient moments. We're looking for the big payoff, but we're only going to get it if we do it right.”
RHP Dylan Florio was named the organization's minor-league pitcher of the year, while OF Andrew Toles was named the organization's minor-league player of the year.
Florio had a 1.77 ERA over 23 starts with Single-A Bowling Green and Single-A Charlotte. Toles hit .326 with Bowling Green.
INF Vince Belnome (Triple-A Durham), OF Kevin Kiermaier (Double-A Montgomery), OF Willie Argo (Charlotte), Toles (Bowling Green), INF Darryl George (Short-season A Hudson Valley), RHP Jacob Faria (Rookie League Princeton), 2B Kean Wong (Gulf Coast League), INF Jose Rojas (Dominican Summer League) and C David Rodriguez (Venezuelan Summer League) were named MVP of their respective teams.
Toles was named the organization's best base runner, RHP Kirby Yates was named the organization's best relief pitcher and Kiermaier was named best defensive player.
RHP Jake Odorizzi will join the team Friday, but Maddon said there are no plans as of now for Odorizzi to start any games. ... The Rays Baseball Foundation awarded a total of $100,000 to 19 local non-profit organizations.