OAKLAND -- For Rays rookie reliever Andrew Kittredge, it's been a week of jet-setting and firsts.But the biggest first came on Sunday, when Kittredge found out he had been called up to the Major Leagues for the first time in his career after seven years in the Minors."I guess any
OAKLAND -- For Rays rookie reliever Andrew Kittredge, it's been a week of jet-setting and firsts.
But the biggest first came on Sunday, when Kittredge found out he had been called up to the Major Leagues for the first time in his career after seven years in the Minors.
"I guess any time you get called in the office, typically it's some kind of move, one way or the other. Going into the coaches' office, that was kind of going through my head that it might be a possibility," Kittredge said. "I had an idea after 10 seconds in there, but it was pretty cool. I was pretty speechless. I didn't know what to say."
Kittredge joined the Rays in Oakland Monday as the team began a three-game series against the A's. The 27-year-old takes the spot of right-handed reliever Jumbo Diaz, who was designated for assignment after carrying a 1-4 record with a 5.70 ERA in 30 innings this season.
The Rays acquired Kittredge last offseason in a trade with the Mariners, the favorite team of the Spokane, Wash., native. Though Kittredge didn't make the team out of Spring Training, he thought the trade was good for his career.
"Having a big change like that, it's a shock to your system. But once I sat down and kind of thought about it a little bit, I thought it was going to be a good move for me," Kittredge said. "It was disappointing because it was the Mariners, the team I grew up cheering for, but I think after I sat down, I thought this was a bigger and better thing for me. And I'm here now, so it's kind of hard to look back and have any regrets as far as that goes."
Kittredge was stellar with Triple-A Durham, going 5-1 with a 1.90 ERA in 52 innings (28 relief appearances, two starts). Kittredge struck out 54 while giving up just 44 hits, 12 walks and two homers, earning an International League All-Star spot.
"He's thrown the ball really well with a fastball-slider approach. We liked him a lot in Spring Training, and we're excited," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Talking to [Durham manager] Jared Sandberg today on the phone, everything they've challenged him with, he has done … We want to find out about this guy. He's done a really good job in Triple-A."
Since last Monday, Kittredge has racked up frequent-flyer miles, going from Durham to Tacoma for Wednesday's Triple-A All-Star Game, his first professional All-Star Game. He then flew to Norfolk for a four-game series before going to Durham Sunday to grab his things and fly to Oakland to meet the team Monday.
But, with a smile that never left his face, Kittredge admitted that, as cool as the last week has been, "I think this trumps that a little bit."
Wilson Ramos (left hamstring tweak) was not in the lineup for his third straight game Monday night, but Cash was encouraged by his progress.
Alex Simon is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter at @alexsimon99.