5/21/2014 12:59 A.M. ET
In big league debut, Rasmussen wins battle vs. Papi
By Gregor Chisholm / MLB.com
BOSTON -- Before left-hander Rob Rasmussen made his Major League debut Tuesday night in Boston, he talked about the possibility of facing Boston's David Ortiz in his first game.
Rasmussen was promoted from Triple-A Buffalo earlier in the day because of his ability to get lefties out. The Blue Jays wanted to add another arm in an effort to match up with Boston during a three-game series, and it was Ortiz who was at the forefront of that discussion.
The 25-year-old Rasmussen admitted upon his arrival he was already thinking about the potential matchup. He had gone over various pitch sequences depending on the situation, and it turned out to be a good idea, because when the time finally came for Rasmussen to run onto the field, it was Ortiz who was waiting for him.
"I was fortunate enough that I got the call down, knew I was going to face Ortiz, so I was kind of able to prepare properly for him," said Rasmussen, who entered with one out in the seventh inning of Toronto's 7-4 victory. "Work on what I was going to throw him throughout the at-bat. Once you run in, it's just back to playing baseball."
Rasmussen began the at-bat with a pair of fastballs that missed the strike zone. Falling behind to one of the game's best hitters is kind of a nightmare situation for any rookie pitcher, but instead of wilting under the pressure, Rasmussen was able to pull himself together.
The California native came back with another fastball that found its mark. Rasmussen then got Ortiz to foul off a tough slider before inducing a ground ball to first on a curveball. With his job done, Rasmussen was then pulled from the game, but not before he got the game ball and a moment that will be cherished for years to come.
"I think it's just slowing down," Rasmussen said of his approach after falling behind 2-0. "At that point in the game, it's 7-4, no one on base, it's just, 'Hey, attack him here. See what he can do.' Obviously we know what he can do, but challenge him and see what happens. This time it happened for me, which is nice."