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Rays officially name Shane McClanahan the Opening Day Starter

The local boy continues to gain accolades for his Tampa Bay Rays.

MLB: All Star-American League at National League
McClanahan at the All-Star Game
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Rays made official what was the obvious choice: Shane McClanahan is your Opening Day starter for the second year in a row.

McClanahan would be the front runner regardless, given his ace status last season and the honor he received of starting the All-Star Game in 2022; however, with Tyler Glasnow’s start to the season being slowed by injury, it was always going to be Sugar Shane.

Preceding McClanahan, the previous Opening Day starters for the Rays were Glasnow, Charlie Morton, Blake Snell across 2021-2019.

Prior to those seasons was Chris Archer (4x) in consecutive seasons from 2015-2018, and a mix of David Price (3x) and James Shields (4x) from 2008-2014. The only other pitchers with multiple Opening Day starts for the Rays are Scott Kazmir (2006-2007) and Wilson Alvarez (1998-1999).

Shane McClanahan — raised in Cape Coral, FL — is a product of Tampa’s University of South Florida and was drafted by the Rays with the 31st overall selection in the 2018 Major League Baseball draft. He was then the first pitcher to ever make his major league debut during the playoffs, facing the Yankees in the ALDS on October 5, 2020.

In 2022, he was a front runner for the Cy Young prior to a late-season shoulder injury. He finished the season with a 2.54 ERA, 3.00 FIP, and 2.60 xFIP with a career best in both 30.3% strikeout and 5.9% walk rate. He made one start for the Rays in the post-season, throwing seven full innings with 5 strikeouts, 0 walks, and 2 earned runs in a loss.