Corey Ray is back, and it took him no time at all to demonstrate he hasn't lost a step.
Milwaukee's No. 2 prospect -- out of competitive ball since undergoing surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his left knee in October -- raced around the bases for a triple in his first at-bat Sunday and wound up 2-for-5 with a steal and a run scored in Class A Advanced Carolina's 8-3 win over visiting Frederick.
Video: Ray rips triple in his Mudcats debut
Facing 18th-ranked Orioles prospect Ofelky Peralta to lead off the bottom of the first inning, the fifth overall pick of last year's Draft took two pitches out of the zone and lined the third offering off the base of the wall in right-center field. Austin Hays, the Keys' center fielder, made a strong but offline throw to third baseman Jomar Reyes, and Ray avoided the tag with a slide.
In the eighth, the left-handed-hitting No. 27 overall prospect poked a single through the left side against righty Mike Burke. He swiped second and scored on a double by Jake Gatewood -- the No. 25 Brewers prospect's third two-bagger of the game.
Ray, a 22-year-old outfielder out of the University of Louisville, profiles as a consistent hitter with some power and plenty of speed. In his first crack at the pros last year, he played three games in the Class A Midwest League and 57 in the Class A Advanced Florida State League, combining for a .239/.307/.370 slash line with five homers, 12 doubles and 10 thefts in 16 attempts. His recovery from the torn meniscus sustained in an instructional league game kept him out of action during Spring Training, and he opened the year in extended spring camp.
"He has worked extremely hard to rehab and will begin 2017 with the Carolina Mudcats," Milwaukee farm director Tom Flanagan told MiLB.com in March. "Beyond the big tools that he possesses, he goes about his business in a manner far beyond his years."
Gatewood boosted his average to .361 with a 3-for-5 showing. He scored three times and plated two.
Randolph Gassaway, Baltimore's No. 25 prospect, went 2-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and a run for Frederick.
Ray's triple was the only hit Peralta permitted over five innings. The 19-year-old right-hander fanned nine and walked four. He's allowed one run over nine innings across two starts, but has yet to factor in a decision.