Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A double graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Biletnikoff Award.
Ray to make MLB debut
Robbie Ray will make his MLB debut tonight for the Detroit Tigers (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
FAYETTEVILLE A former University of Arkansas baseball signee will make his MLB debut tonight.
Left-handed pitcher Robbie Ray will start on the mound for the Tigers in their game against the Astros in Detroit. Ray, 22, pitched five games in Triple-A Toledo after an off-season trade and was called up to the big league team last week to fill in for Anibal Sanchez, who is recovering from a finger injury.
After signing a letter of intent with the Razorbacks in 2009, Ray opted to skip school when he was selected by the Nationals in the 12th round of the 2010 MLB Draft. He signed a contract worth $799,000 with the Nationals that year, significantly higher than the recommended value by MLB for his slot in the draft.
Of the 24 Arkansas signees that have opted to skip college since 2006, Ray is only the second to make it out of the minor leagues. The other is Orioles first baseman Chris Davis, who was the 2013 American League home run champion.
Tonight's game is the first of two this week between the Tigers and Orioles with a Razorbacks connection. Former Arkansas pitchers and roommates Dallas Keuchel and Drew Smyly will start Thursday's game.