It was good and it was weird all at the same time. —Caleb Clay
SALT LAKE CITY — The Los Angeles Angels' Saturday night contest turned into a Sunday morning classic as the club battled Boston in a 19-inning marathon. Meanwhile, in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake Bees starting pitcher Caleb Clay — scheduled to throw Sunday — was sound asleep.
His slumber didn't last through the night.
The Angels were in need of some fresh arms after using nine different pitchers in their 5-4 victory over the Red Sox
At around 2 a.m. Sunday morning, Clay received a call from Bees manager Keith Johnson telling him to get ready, because he was going to the show. It was Clay's first major league call-up.
"It was good and it was weird all at the same time," Johnson said. "I mean, he was so groggy that I don't think he could be as excited as he wanted to be once he actually woke up and was like, 'Wait a minute, I'm going to the big leagues.' It's always good to tell the guys their very first time that they're going up there. Obviously it was a really, really quick turnaround, but I'm happy for him. It's a well-earned honor."
Clay's path to the majors has been a unique one. He was drafted in the first round of the 2006 draft by Boston, but never made a name for himself in the organization. Last season Clay signed a minor league deal with Washington and made it to Triple-A for the first time. The Nationals didn't bring him back, however, and Clay went to the Korea Baseball Championship to start the 2014 season.
Been waiting on this day for the last 22 years. So thankful. Gonna soak it up! Proverbs 3:5-6— Caleb Clay (@CalebClay) August 10, 2014
In June the Angels signed Clay and assigned him to Sale Lake, where he rewarded the organization's faith in him. On July 20 Clay pitched a complete-game shutout, earning PCL Pitcher of the Week honors. He then took a no-hitter into the sixth inning on July 30.
With Clay, as well as fellow pitcher Vinnie Pestano, on their way to Los Angeles, the Bees relied on a group effort Sunday against El Paso. Salt Lake used four pitchers, including three shutout innings from middle reliever Yoslan Herrera, to tame the Chihuahuas 7-5.
"(Herrera) did a great job for us and picked up some much-needed innings," Johnson said. "With us losing two pitchers, one of which being our starter, the bullpen had to pick up some innings. (Herrera) picking up (three innings) and getting all the way through it was a huge lift for us."