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Cole Sulser gets first major league call up

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29 year old rookie could make debut in today’s double header

Tampa Bay Rays v Atlanta Braves Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

ST. PETERSBURG. At age 29, Cole Sulser is hardly an overnight sensation. The righthanded reliever, picked by the Indians in the 25th round of the 2013 draft, has perservered through a year lost to surgery, several trips up and down and up the minor league ladder, and no doubt many, many long bus rides.

Yesterday, for the first time in his career, he donned a regular season major league uniform.

The Dartmouth graduate is not the only “Big Green” pitcher in the majors; Kyle Hendricks of the Cubs was a classmate.

Sulser came to Tampa Bay in the same winter 2018 trade that brought over Yandy Diaz. He earned the call up after putting up a strong season in Durham. Along with his 3.27 ERA he averaged over 12 strike outs per nine innings. He’s listed as having 4 games started among his 66 innings, but I’m assuming those were “opener” starts.

We spoke to him today in St. Pete to learn more about his arsenal. He describes himself as a “pretty straightforward standard reliever. I have three main pitches: fastball, slider and change. I try to be in the zone, establish the zone, get ahead, same as most guys go with.”

He has, in recent years, focused on increasing his already strong strikeout rate, with some success. “I refined my slider and increased usage of the top of the strike zone. These have helped my strikeout numbers increase.”

What’s it like to get called up some six years after getting drafted?

It was a pretty amazing experience. After the game in Durham they brought the whole team together and the manager made the announcement that I was going to be going up. It was nice to have that moment happen in front of the team. I was obviously very excited and almost a little bit emotional. At the same time it was awesome to have my teammates who have been there supporting me giving me hugs and wishing me congratulations. It was a very cool experience.