ST. PETERSBURG -- Newly acquired outfielder Rich Thompson picked up his first career hit and RBI with a fourth-inning single in Thursday night's game against the Red Sox.
The ball was thrown into the Rays' dugout to commemorate the event. Thompson then stole second base, prompting pitcher David Price to call to Thompson to take second base as another souvenir. Thompson did not do as instructed, but he did steal third base.
Thompson made his Rays debut as a pinch-runner in the eighth inning of Wednesday's 2-1 win over the Red Sox.
Prior to that appearance, Thompson's only stint in the Major Leagues came with the Royals in April 2004, when he appeared in six games and had one at-bat in a game at Cleveland that saw him ground into a double play.
"I think I had a lot more nerves [going to the Major Leagues] when I was 23 or 24, whatever I was," Thompson said. "I think I'm probably just a little more confident. I'd only been in Triple-A the year before. Now I feel kind of like I know who I am now."
Thompson thought he had arrived to The Show for a prolonged stay during his first stint in the Major Leagues.
"I was a Rule 5 [Draft pick], so I thought my chances were pretty good," Thompson said. "My role was pretty solid. Things just didn't quite pan out. I didn't expect to be in Triple-A for a long time, but then, when I was in Triple-A, I'm like, 'At least I don't have to go back to Double-A.' Then a couple of days later I end up in Double-A.
"So certainly never take anything for granted. As soon as you feel like you're where you're going to be for good, things can change."
As for his one at-bat?
"I didn't spend a whole lot of time thinking about it," said Thompson, recalling that catcher Tim Laker was pitching for the Indians in a blowout. "I was facing a backup catcher. ... It was cold in Cleveland and I was pretty sure I wasn't going to have the tightest strike zone, so I was like, 'I'm not striking out.'
"I got a decent pitch to hit and Omar Vizquel stepped on second and turned two. That was a little bit disappointing. I was supposed to be one of the faster guys in baseball and I hit into a double play. I've hit into a lot more double plays since."