TODAY: Patino has been officially called up from the taxi squad, the Rays announced.
APRIL 24: The Rays made a quartet of roster moves, including the activation of right-hander Diego Castillo from the COVID-related injury list. Catcher Deivy Grullon was designated for assignment in a corresponding move to open up a 40-man roster spot, while right-hander Chris Mazza has been placed on the regular 10-day IL due to shoulder inflammation. Luis Patino has also been added to Tampa Bay’s taxi squad, and is expected to join the active roster tomorrow. (MLB.com’s Adam Berry was among those to report the news.)
Patino is expected to make his Rays debut Sunday, pitching in some type of piggyback capacity along with scheduled starter Josh Fleming, who told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times that he isn’t yet sure how the Rays will deploy the combination of Fleming’s relatively soft-tossing arsenal along with Patino’s high-powered fastball.
Patino was the centerpiece of the four-player package sent by the Padres to Tampa Bay last offseason in exchange for Blake Snell. For a controlled and affordable former Cy Young Award winner, San Diego had to pay a hefty price, and this mean parting ways with one of the sport’s top pitching prospects in Patino. The 21-year-old righty has had some issues with his command, though his fastball and slider are already considered plus pitches and his changeup isn’t behind, according to MLB Pipeline’s scouting report. Patino made his Major League debut last season, tossing 17 1/3 innings in the regular season for the Padres (with a 5.19 ERA, 21 strikeouts, and a troubling 14 walks) and then 2 2/3 more frames in the postseason.
Castillo returns after just a one-day stint on the COVID-IL. Castillo has already recorded four saves in his role as Tampa Bay’s top choice at closer, along with a 2.79 ERA and 33.3% strikeout rate over 9 2/3 innings.
Mazza has an ugly 8.49 ERA over six outings this season, mostly generated during two rough appearances against the Rangers and Red Sox that saw him allow a combined 10 runs over 5 2/3 innings. Mazza looked better in last night’s game against the Blue Jays, allowing only a single hit in three shutout innings of relief.
After being claimed off waivers from the Reds in early April, Grullon could find himself on the move again without seeing any big league action in a Rays uniform. Grullon appeared in four games with the Phillies in 2019 and one game with the Red Sox last season, before Cincinnati claimed him away from Boston in December. Grullon has a .253/.305/.405 slash line and 70 home runs over 2387 career minor league plate appearances in Philadelphia’s system.