Wil Myers, the Tampa Bay Rays’ top prospect, makes his major league debut Tuesday when the Rays open a six-day, seven-game road trip with a doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.
On Sunday night, the Rays announced their intention to promote the promising outfield prospect who was the centerpiece of the seven-player trade last December with the Kansas City Royals that sent right-hander James Shields to the Midwest. On Monday night, Myers spoke to reporters via conference call after arriving in Boston to begin his journey in the majors. Here are some of the highlights.
On emotions of the call-up: “It’s very exciting, you know. My family was at the game yesterday. As soon as I was taken out of the game, they let me know what was going on. So I called them when I found out, and they came down to see me outside of the stadium. It was really cool. It’s just everything I’ve worked for all my life, and it’s finally coming true.”
On hearing the news: “I believe it was the bottom of the second inning (Sunday). I came back in from defense. … They said, ‘You’re out of the game. You may or may not be going to the big leagues.’ And then I went in the locker room and the trainer had my itinerary there for me to fly to Boston.”
On being surprised: “I didn’t know what day it was going to happen. That wasn’t even in my mind right then. I was just focused on having good at-bats and working hard in Triple-A just to improve my game.”
On starting his Major League career at Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium: “It’s very exciting, obviously being here in Boston and New York. I guess the thing I’m most excited about is just playing against the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. Those are two teams I saw when I was growing up. They had all the great players. Finally, I’ll be playing against them.”
On telling his father, Eric, about the promotion: “That was really cool. Obviously, it happening on Father’s Day, having my dad be there, that was very special for me. It was just a very cool experience for it to happen yesterday.”
On adjustments in the minors after an early slide: “To be honest, my average was dropping through that time, but I really wasn’t having bad at-bats. … I was lining out a few times, and I had some bloopers not fall in. I didn’t really feel bad at the plate. It was one of those things I knew would turn around. … It was just one of those things you go through every now and then throughout the year.”
On when he felt he was ready to come up: “I really felt good last homestand. I felt good at the plate. I was recognizing pitches early in the count and laying off balls up by the zone. I felt good right then. I felt like a big-league hitter at the plate.”
On how batting low in the order will help his transition to the majors: “I think it will help a lot — I guess not have as much pressure on me to begin with. I just want to go out and help the team win. Whatever Joe (Maddon) wants me to play, I’ll play.”
On being aware of the Rays’ fan base clamoring for him: “I saw some things on Twitter, which I thought was awesome, to be able to know the fans were behind you.”
On being comfortable in all outfield spots: “Wherever they want me to play, I’ll play. But I feel comfortable in all three. Wherever they need me to play — I’ve had experience in all three of them. But I don’t think it will be too much of a stretch to play anywhere.”
On attention focused on him: “I’m just trying to put that aside right now. The game changes once you get to the big leagues. It’s all about winning. I’ve put that aside and just do whatever I can to help the team win.”
On Rays players who helped him in Spring Training: “I don’t think there was just one particular guy in spring training. I talked to everybody on the team, and everybody was awesome to me. They were very welcoming in spring training — from (Evan) Longoria to anybody on the team. I think it’s just a great group to guys to be apart of. I’m very excited to join them.”