Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 5/31/13
MIAMI Its referred to as the Pitching Pipeline in the Tampa Bay pregame media notes. The Rays have used a homegrown starting pitcher a pitcher they drafted or signed internationally for 363 of their last 380 games dating back to Oct. 1, 2010. In one word: Impressive. The latest homegrown talent to go on display was hard-throwing right-hander Alex Colome, who made his major league debut against the Miami Marlins on Thursday night. Colome allowed an unearned and five hits in 5 2-3 innings en route to winning his major league debut in the Rays 5-2 victory. Colome became the 18th different pitcher to start for the Rays since the start of the 2008 season, a span of 863 games. The 18 pitchers are three fewer than the next major league team (San Francisco Giants, 21) and seven fewer than the next American League team (Minnesota Twins, 25). In multiple words: The Rays pitchers have been good, and theyve remained relatively healthy. Colome, 24 and the nephew of former Rays reliever Jesus Colome, was signed out of the Dominican Republic as an 18-year-old in 2007. He became the first product of the Rays Dominican academy to reach the majors when promoted on Wednesday to join the bullpen. Plans quickly changed, however, after starter Alex Cobb suffered a cut on his right middle finger. Tampa Bay needed a starter, and Colome got the call. My wife and my people in the Dominican were watching the game on the computer, he said. Theyve been waiting for this like me. For his first major league win, Colome received the traditional Rays celebration: a cold shower. It was really cold, beer and cold water, he said. Bud Light. In the managers office, Joe Maddon raved about the latest homegrown hurlers ability to escape: a first-inning, bases-loaded jam with only one unearned run; and a fifth inning in which Colome got a double play grounder with runners on first and third. He was outstanding, Maddon said. Probably a little bit nervous in the beginning; we all are. After that, he started to get a rhythm with his cutter-slider, whatever it is, and his change up thats a power breaking ball. And then the fastballs got high RPMs on it, too. I was most impressed with his ability to stay calm throughout the whole thing. But his stuff is a little bit overwhelming. Its really good. Before the game, Maddon said he told Colome to not worry about scouting reports, keep his emotions under control, and pitch his game. Mission accomplished? Check, check, check, Maddon said. He was real good. As a small market team, the Rays have focused on the draft or as Maddon referred to it, our version of free agency and international signings. It starts with great scouting, Maddon said. Im an old scout. So give credit where credit is due. Thats all scouting. Which likely means more homegrown hurlers are being groomed. Charlie McCarthy can be reached at mac1763@bellsouth.net or on Twitter @mccarthy_chas
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