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Rays prospect Yoniel Curet getting 'a little bit closer to my dreams'

Marc Topkin, Tampa Bay Times on

Published in Baseball

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Yoniel Curet is experiencing a lot of firsts.

In November, the 21-year-old right-hander was added to the Rays’ 40-man roster, a bit of a surprise even though he hadn’t pitched above the Class A level, and thus included in big-league spring camp.

Sunday, he pitched in his first major-league exhibition, working a scoreless inning in a 4-4 tie with the Twins while walking one.

Next weekend, he is expected to start one of the Rays’ exhibitions against the Red Sox in his native Dominican Republic, providing family members their first chance to see him in a big-league uniform.

“This makes me feel like I’m a little bit closer to my dreams,” Curet said Sunday, with team communications director Elvis Martinez translating.

Curet said he took being added to the 40-man roster as a reward for his hard work after signing in July 2019, and the unexpected chance to pitch in Santo Domingo in front of family and friends as an unexpected and thrilling opportunity.

 

As for Sunday, pitching the seventh inning of a tied game?

“It was good, a good experience,” he said. “Got out there, executed my pitches. Just keep playing hard and see what happens the rest of the spring.”

Curet’s fastball clocked at 94-95 mph, as he got Dylan Neuse to fly out, walked Jake Rucker (who stole second), got Danny De Andrade to ground out and Carson McCusker to fly out. Curet threw nine of his 18 pitches for strikes and said he wasn’t nervous.

“I was happy he just got the ball over the plate,” manager Kevin Cash said. “Very encouraged. He’s got a lot of power. Big kid. He’ll do good things for us. There’s some anxiety going on at that time, and I thought he handled it really, really well.”

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