When he was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the second round of the 2016 draft out of Louisiana State, outfielder Jake Fraley figured to one day make his major league debut at Tropicana Field.
It appears he might get that chance Tuesday, although it will be as a member of the Seattle Mariners.
Multiple media outlets reported late Monday that Fraley will join the big-league club in St. Petersburg, Fla. Fraley was scratched from Triple-A Tacoma's lineup Monday night and was seen leaving the ballpark.
"He's had a really big first half in Double-A, and coming here, he really didn't slow down a whole lot," Tacoma manager Daren Brown told MLB.com over the weekend. "He tries to work to get good pitches to hit and then it's about not missing them. He's done a really good job of that.
"Obviously, a level change, there's going to be more off-speed pitches than what he saw in Double-A, and he's handled it all pretty well. He's made adjustments when he needed to. He really hasn't gotten into any struggle or slump at all. He's been pretty solid and consistent."
After a strong spring training, Fraley started the season at Double-A Arkansas, where he batted .313 with 11 home runs and 47 RBIs in 61 games. That earned him a promotion to Tacoma, where he batted .276 with eight homers and 33 RBIs in 38 games despite missing a week earlier this month with a quad injury.
With injuries to Mitch Haniger, Braden Bishop and Domingo Santana, and the trade of Jay Bruce, the Mariners have been thin in the outfield, using infielders Tim Lopes, Dylan Moore and Austin Nola to fill in.
Tom Murphy hit two home runs and Nola added another in a 9-3 Seattle victory Monday in the series opener.
The multi-homer game was Murphy's second in a week, as he also had one Aug. 13 at Detroit. On the Mariners' current nine-game trip, during which they're 5-2, Murphy is 7-for-11 with five homers and eight RBIs.
Not bad for a backup catcher acquired March 29 in a trade with the San Francisco Giants for a low-lever minor-leaguer.
"We acquired a guy we really didn't know much about, an out-of-options catcher," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "He comes in, he's got to figure some things out pretty quickly or we're probably going to move on to the next guy. And he did from the minute he got here."
Both teams plan to use an opener Tuesday. The Mariners' Tommy Milone (2-7, 4.69 ERA) is scheduled to get the bulk of the innings against a fellow left-hander, the Rays' Jalen Beeks (5-2, 4.13).
The pitching-thin Rays only got two innings out of left-hander Brendan McKay on Tuesday, and he was sent down to the minor leagues after the game.
Tampa Bay has been hanging on to a wild-card berth despite the loss of three of its top starters, Tyler Glasnow, Blake Snell and Yonny Chirinos.
"You don't replace those guys, and we're trying to piece it together," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "We're asking to get a lot of pitches out of some young guys. And it's challenging."
--Field Level Media