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Quick Hits: Rays, McClanahan, Astros, Valdez, Pirates,

The Rays had a tough ninth inning in tonight’s game one against the Yankees. But after Giancarlo Stanton put the game away with a grand slam, the Rays got to make a little history themselves. Shane McClanahan became the first pitcher in MLB history to make his major league debut in the postseason, writes’s Juan Toribio (via Twitter). Hitters have accomplished the feat, including this season when Alex Kirilloff made his debut for the Twins. McClanahan was the Rays #5 ranked prospect in Baseball America’s midseason report, and he’d pitched only as high as four games in Double-A prior to his ALDS appearance on Monday night. Rays manager Kevin Cash tasked the former 31st overall pick of the 2018 draft with getting the final out of the ninth inning. The southpaw allowed a high-chop infield single, then surrendered a walk to load the bases for DJ LeMahieu. McClanahan got the AL batting champ to hit one of the end of the bat, which he fielded cleanly to retire the side. While the playoffs rumble on, the rest of the baseball world continues in the background…

  • Framber Valdez will start game two of the ALDS for the Houston Astros on Tuesday with a chance to go up 2-0 in the series. But there was a version of events in which Valdez never would have been employed by the Astros at all, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle learned today. Valdez was apparently signed by the Brewers back in 2015, but he was released after a failed physical. Rome doesn’t elaborate as to why Valdez failed the physical, and given the range of possibilities, it’s not worth speculating. The Astros signed the hard-throwing southpaw on March 18, 2015 as an amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic, and he made his big-league debut in 2018. This season was his real breakout, however, as he locked down a spot in the Astros’ rotation with a 3.57 ERA/2.85 FIP in 70 2/3 innings.
  • Pittsburgh Pirates GM Ben Cherington continues to re-make the organization that hired him as General Manager back on November 18, 2019. Lots has changed in the year plus that Cherington has been in charge, but a long rebuild still lies ahead. Given the revenue dips caused by the pandemic, it’s not particularly surprising that today’s news regards a “mix of firings and not renewing contracts,” per Jason Mackey of PG Sports Now (via Twitter). Among those not returning to Pittsburgh are strength coach Jim Malone, head athletic trainer Bryan Housand, and senior advisor Lick Leyva, among others it seems. Given the trends we’re seeing in the industry, it would not be surprising to see these positions either filled internally or not filled at all.
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