Rays prospect Shane Baz to start for U.S. vs Japan at Olympics
YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) — Tampa Bay prospect Shane Baz will make his Olympics debut Monday night, starting for the United States against Japan.
A 22-year-old right-hander, Baz is 3-4 with a 2.26 ERA in 12 minor league starts this season, striking out 82 and walking 10 in 55 2/3 innings.
After starting 2-4 with a 2.48 ERA in seven starts at Double-A Montgomery, he was promoted to Triple-A Durham in mid-June and went 1-0 with a 1.96 ERA in five starts, striking out 33 in 23 innings. He was the Rays minor league pitcher of the month in June.
Baz pitched the second inning of the Futures Game at Denver's Coors Field on July 11, throwing a called third strike past Atlanta's Michael Harris, fanning the Chicago Cubs' Brennan Davis and retiring Colorado's Ryan Vilade on a groundout.
The United States and Japan enter the game with 2-0 records.
Joe Ryan, traded from Tampa Bay to Minnesota for Nelson Cruz, beat Israel in the U.S. opener Friday, and former Texas Rangers pitcher Nick Martinez got the victory over South Korea on Saturday.
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