Jeremy Hellickson struck out four batters in the third inning Thursday against the Tigers, becoming the first pitcher in Rays history to pull off the feat.
After Austin Jackson reached on a strike three/wild pitch to begin the inning, Hellickson fanned Ramon Santiago, Delmon Young and Victor Martinez in order. Martinez was hitting in the cleanup spot that usually would have been occupied by Miguel Cabrera, who is away on paternity leave today.
Hellickson, a top candidate for AL Rookie of the Year honors, ended up allowing two runs over seven innings and striking out seven in the game. Still, he’s in line for the loss, as Doug Fister is shutting out the Rays as of this writing.
Update: Detroit won 2-0, dropping Hellickson to 11-9 with his 3.01 ERA. The Rays have scored a total of nine runs in his nine losses.
The Rays acquired minor league reliever Drew Smith from the Tigers on Friday, per a team announcement. The move will close the loop on the trade the two teams began in January for backup outfielder Mikie Mahtook.
Smith, 23, pitched his first full season in Single-A West Michigan in 2016, turning in a 2.96 ERA, 4.3 BB/9 and 11.5 SO/9 in 48 2/3 innings. The right-hander is still several levels away from making any impact on the Rays’ major league roster, but appears to be progressing steadily in two seasons of pro ball and has delivered two runs, four walks and 12 strikeouts in his first 11 2/3 innings at High-A Lakeland this season. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that he’ll be reassigned to the Rays’ High-A Charlotte this week.
The Yankees have activated shortstop Didi Gregorius from the 10-day disabled list, the club announced on Friday. Infielder Pete Kozma was designated for assignment to clear roster space.
Gregorius, 27, suffered a strained right shoulder while playing in the World Baseball Classic last month. He’s in Friday’s starting lineup, batting sixth against the Orioles.
Last season, Gregorius hit .276/.304/.447 with 20 home runs and 70 RBI in 597 plate appearances.