Wednesday, July 25, 2001

MacRae makes quick impact

Pitcher throws two perfect innings in major-league debut

By Chris Haft
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Reds manager Bob Boone and pitching coach Don Gullett came away impressed when they watched Jose Rijo pitch last Thursday in Louisville. But it wasn't Rijo who dazzled them most.

        They really liked Scott MacRae, a 26-year-old right-hander who had toiled in Cincinnati's minor-league system since being drafted in the 32nd round in 1995.

        MacRae, who allowed only one hit in 3 1/3 innings that night, finally reached the majors Tuesday as the Reds purchased his contract from their Triple-A affiliate. Right-hander Frankie Rodriguez, who had no record and an 11.42 ERA in seven appearances, was outrighted to Louisville.

        Boone wasted no time using MacRae, who finished Cincinnati's 11-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves with two perfect innings.

        “That's kind of what I saw down there (in Louisville). He comes right at you,” Boone said of MacRae, who became the eighth Red to make his major-league debut this season. “That's what I like.”

        Boone said MacRae will share long-relief duties with Osvaldo Fernandez. Having started in 76 of his 247 professional appearances, MacRae fits a swingman's profile.

        MacRae posted a 7-4 record with a 3.01 ERA in eight starts and 22 relief outings in the minors. He made all of his starts at Double-A Chattanooga and was named to the Southern League All-Star team.

        MacRae relies primarily on a sinking fastball. “When he works down in the (strike) zone he has major-league-type stuff, no question about that,” Reds farm director Tim Naehring said.

        MacRae has 446 strikeouts in 711 1/3 career innings. But he also has compiled a 47-28 record. In one breath, MacRae said he was “very surprised” to be promoted. But, he also said, “I planned on it.”

        “I've always had decent but not great numbers,” MacRae said. “Obviously, (since) they kept me around for a bunch of years in a row, they think I can pitch.”

        Said Naehring, “It's a good story. Here's a guy that had been in the organization, done everything asked of him and kept himself in unbelievable shape. He deserves a chance. Those are the kind of guys you like to see do well.”


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