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Movin' On Up: Masterson's masterful debut04/25/2008 8:42 AM ET
By Lisa Winston / MLB.com
The ultimate goal for every Minor Leaguer is to reach the Major Leagues. Every Friday, MiLB.com's new series, Movin' On Up, will take a look at prospects who have reached that goal and made their big-league debuts during the week.
The following players made their Major League debuts between April 18 and April 24:
Justin Masterson, RHP, Boston Red Sox
The 2006 second-rounder from San Diego State had his contract purchased just hours before the game, a 7-5 loss in which he did not factor in the decision. He tossed six innings of two-hit ball, allowing one run and walking four while striking out four. He got 11 groundball outs on his super sinker -- his primary out pitch.
With Josh Beckett sidelined with a stiff neck and Dice-K Matsuzaka down with the flu, the Red Sox had called up fellow prospect David Pauley for a one-and-done outing this series as well before bringing in Masterson Thursday afternoon. He was sent back to Portland after the game but you can be sure he made a good impression.
The converted catcher might not have been a Red Sox had the rumored offseason trade for Johan Santana gone through. He was considered one of the key players in that package.
Armed with that sinker and a plus slider, he had posted a 15-9 record and 3.74 ERA in a season and a half prior to 2008.
Emmanuel Burriss, SS/2B, San Francisco Giants
DEBUT: April 20 in an 8-2 win against St. Louis. A late defensive replacement at shortstop, he did not come to bat.
NOTES: Another speedster to take Davis' place, he stole 68 bases between Class A Advanced San Jose and Class A Augusta in 2007 in his first full season. The Kent State first-rounder hit .307 in his 2006 pro debut at short-season Salem-Keizer and was promoted to San Jose to start '07. However, he struggled to a .165 average and was moved down to Augusta where he batted .321. Interestingly, the Giants moved him up even further to start '08, sending him right to Triple-A Fresno, where the switch-hitter was batting .258 and seeing time at both shortstop and second base. His arrival continues the middle infield youth movement we're already seeing flashes of with fellow rookies Brian Bocock and Eugenio Velez.
Robinzon Diaz, C, Toronto Blue Jays
DEBUT: April 23 in a 5-3 loss to Tampa Bay. The starting DH, he batted eighth and went 0-for-4 with a strikeout.
NOTES: In the same week that we saw David Purcey, the pitcher who threw the first pitch of the 2008 Minor League season, make his debut, so too did we see the debut of his Syracuse Chiefs batterymate, Diaz, who collected the season's first hit. Diaz poked a broken-bat single in the second inning of that game off of Louisville's Homer Bailey (in fact, he had two hits off Bailey, both of them of the broken-bat variety). Diaz was hitting .368 for the Chiefs when summoned to the bigs. Though he has virtually no power, his .306 career average heading into 2008 makes up for it, and his defense has been consistently improving.
Brad Harman, 2B, Philadelphia Phillies
DEBUT: April 22 in an 8-6 win against Colorado. Popped out in the ninth inning as a pinch-hitter for reliever Ryan Madson.
NOTES: The Australian-born Harman, just 22, had never played above Class A before joining the Reading club to start this season. A .270 career hitter, he's spent his last two full seasons at Class A Advanced Clearwater, where he saw time at both shortstop and second base. He has good pop for the position, with 13 homers and a .449 slugging percentage for the Threshers in 2007.
David Purcey, LHP, Toronto Blue Jays
DEBUT: April 18 in an 8-4 loss to Detroit. The starting pitcher tossed 4 1/3 innings of two-hit ball and allowed one run. He walked seven, struck out three and didn't factor in the decision.
NOTES: Purcey's debut was "one and done," -- for now, anyway. He was sent down after his start in another reshuffling of the pitching staff. Nevertheless, the Jays' pre-season prediction that Purcey would be their "comeback player of the year" among their Minor Leaguers looks dead on right about now. Elbow trouble shelved him for the second half of 2007 as he posted a 5.37 ERA at Double-A New Hampshire prior to that. But he began his comeback in fine fashion as he posted a 1.23 ERA in six starts in the Arizona Fall League. He threw the first pitch of the 2008 season for Syracuse, tossing six innings of two-hit shutout ball for the win on April 3 against Louisville (including two strikeouts against top prospect Jay Bruce).
Sean Rodriguez, IF, Los Angeles Angels
DEBUT: April 19 in a 4-1 win against Seattle. The starting second baseman, he batted eighth and went 1-for-4.
NOTES: The son of Johnny Rodriguez, the hitting coach for the Florida Marlins' short-season team at Jamestown, shows his bloodlines in the way he plays smart. He also has good power for a middle infielder, earning Texas League All-Star honors in 2007 with 17 homers after blasting 29 in 2006. Though he had not played any second base in his 2006 and 2007 campaigns, he moved over there to start '08 when power-hitting prospect Brandon Wood moved back to his original shortstop slot. A .276 career hitter in his first five pro seasons, he was a third-round pick in 2003 out of high school in Miami.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.