After hectic 24 hours, Rasmussen thrilled
Mariners new reliever happy to be with Seattle
MINNEAPOLIS -- Rob Rasmussen has been traded five times now in the past four years, but the well-traveled southpaw said it was a little different Friday when he learned he was being swapped by the Blue Jays to the Mariners.
This deal, it turned out, came with an invitation to the Major League club, and the former UCLA hurler flew immediately from Buffalo in time to arrive at Friday night's Mariners game against the Twins in the third inning at Target Field.
"I have been traded quite a few times, but this was the sweetest and also the most hectic," the 26-year-old said prior to Saturday's game against the Twins. "Just trying to catch a flight and landing here in Minnesota right as the game was about to start, getting in here as the game was going on.
"But it's unbelievable to get traded and to come up with a team that even after a day, I was calling friends and family and telling them what a great group of welcoming guys for a kid who was coming in during the third inning. I felt very at home right off the bat."
Rasmussen's crazy 24 hours included a 15-minute Uber ride on Saturday morning to a store to buy black cleats after wearing blue shoes in the Blue Jays organization.
"The logistical aspect is easier when you've done it before," he said. "But you're trying to meet a whole bunch of people, remember all the names, plan out even how you're going to get your stuff where. The big hassle was trying to find black cleats instead of blue cleats. It's just small little logistical stuff that can be tough. But other than that, it's great.
"I enjoyed my time with Toronto and Buffalo, but to come up here, being born on the West Coast, to come to the West Coast is a great thing. UCLA played Washington in college and I absolutely loved the city. So to be able to be on the West Coast, be in Seattle and come to the big leagues is kind of the trifecta for me."
The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Rasmussen pitched at UCLA from 2008-10 in a rotation that also included Pirates ace Gerrit Cole, Indians starter Trevor Bauer, Nationals rookie reliever Matt Grace and Mets rookie reliever Erik Goeddel on a team that finished second in the College World Series.
"To have five us on that same staff be able to be in the big leagues is pretty remarkable," Rasmussen said.
Rasmussen was drafted out of UCLA by the Marlins in the second round in 2010, traded to the Astros in July 2012, to the Dodgers in December 2012, to the Phillies in August 2013, and to the Blue Jays in December 2013. He was converted to a reliever by Toronto and pitched 11 games in the big leagues with a 2.92 ERA over the past two seasons in brief callups.
Now he's a Mariner, the oldest of the three left-handers acquired for Mark Lowe on Friday. Rasmussen and right-hander Jose Ramirez, who came from the Yankees in the Dustin Ackley deal, both joined the Mariners.
Outfielder Ramon Flores, the other player obtained in the Ackley swap, was assigned to Triple-A Tacoma and had two hits in his debut on Friday. Right-hander Adrian Sampson, acquired from the Pirates for J.A. Happ, will also report to Tacoma.
Young left-handers Nick Wells and Jake Brentz, the other two players from Toronto in the Lowe deal, were assigned to Class A Short Everett.