Jake Odorizzi will indeed make his Rays debut on Monday

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The Rays confirmed late Saturday that 23-year-old right-hander Jake Odorizzi, who was acquired from the Royals this winter in the James Shields trade, will make his debut for Tampa Bay in Monday afternoon’s series opener against the Blue Jays.

This from Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.

Odorizzi is filling for staff ace David Price, who hit the disabled list a few days ago with a strained left triceps muscle. Price is still out indefinitely, so Jake’s stay in the major leagues could last a while.

Odorizzi was the 32nd overall pick in the 2008 MLB Amateur Draft out of a southern Illinois high school. He was sporting a 3.83 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 47/15 K/BB ratio through 44 2/3 innings this season at Triple-A Durham.

“Jake, by a series of different reasons, got the nod. We felt good about all of them,” Rays manager Joe Maddon told reporters on Saturday. “I hear he had been doing a great job (in Durham). Here’s a guy who went about his business really well (in the spring), has a nice makeup, has a nice way about him. So we felt confident starting him on Monday.”

Must-Click Link: Remembering Eddie Grant the first major leaguer to die in combat

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As you get ready for Memorial Day weekend and whatever it entails for you and yours, take some time to read an excellent article from Mike Bates over at The Hardball Times.

The article is about Eddie Grant. You probably never heard of him. He was a journeyman infielder — often a backup — from 1905 through 1915. If you have heard of him, it was likely not for his baseball exploits, however: it was because he was the first active baseball player to die in combat, killed in the Battle of the Argonne Forest in October 1915.

Michael tells us about more than Grant’s death, however. He provides a great overview of his life and career. And notes that Grant didn’t even have to go to war if he didn’t want to. He was 34, had the chance to coach or manage and had a law degree and the potential to make a lot of money following his baseball career. He volunteered, however, for both patriotic and personal reasons. And it cost him his life.

Must-read stuff indeed. Especially this weekend.

The Indians are unveiling a Frank Robinson statue on Sunday

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The Cleveland Indians will unveil a Frank Robinson statue at Progressive Field on Saturday.

Robinson’s tenure in Cleveland was not long, but it was historic. On April 8, 1975, he became the first African-American manager in Major League history. He was a player-manager. One of the last ones, in fact. He spent two years in that role and then a third year — a partial year anyway — as a manager only. Robinson would go on to manage the Giants, Orioles and the Expos/Nationals, compiling a career record of 1065-1176 in 16 seasons. He is now a top MLB executive.

Robinson was, of course, a Hall of Fame player as well, lodging 21 seasons for the Reds, Orioles, Dodgers, Angels and Indians. He won two MVP awards and hit for the Triple Crown in 1966. Overall he hit 586 home runs – 10th all time – and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. For an inner-circle Hall of Famer with that kind of resume he is still, strangely enough, underrated. I guess that happens when your contemporaries are Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle.

Anyway, congrats to Frank Robinson for yet another well-deserved honor in a career full of them.