ST. PETERSBURG -- Manager Joe Maddon announced on Saturday night that Jeremy Hellickson will make his Major League debut on Monday with the Rays, and although he had no more details on Sunday about the corresponding roster move, Maddon said he was excited to see the highly touted right-hander on the mound.
The 23-year-old Hellickson is leading the International League in wins (12), ERA (2.45) and strikeouts (123) over 21 starts with Triple-A Durham. Having entered this season ranked as the No. 20 prospect in the Minors by MLB.com, Hellickson has patiently waited his turn with the Bulls and will finally get a chance at the Major League level on Monday.
"I'm really eagerly looking forward to this," Maddon said. "I know his stuff's good. We know his stuff is good. He's been pitching well. He's going to be a Major League pitcher for many years. He's going to be a big part of our future. We just get a chance to get a glimpse of the future a bit [on Monday]."
The rest of the rotation will be pushed back a day to make room for Hellickson's debut, and Maddon said he hopes the five regular starters treat Monday like a regular off-day.
"We really wanted to make sure that our starters don't get jammed up with too many innings or pitches at this particular moment," Maddon said. "They're getting a day off, then there are going to be actually two days off in August they can take advantage of.
"Furthermore, historically, our guys have pitched well with an extra day's rest. Having a guy like Hellickson permits you to do it. If you don't have Hellickson, you probably don't do it, but we can."
Maddon remained vague about the corresponding roster move that will make room for Hellickson, and it will likely be announced after Sunday's game or on Monday afternoon. Depending on what further information reveals about the injuries to Ben Zobrist and Carlos Pena, the Rays might not have to designate or option anyone, provided one of the two injured hitters is put on the disabled list.
-- Adam Berry