OAKLAND (AP) — The Oakland Athletics plan to call up right-hander Dan Straily, who has more strikeouts than any other pitcher in professional baseball, to start Friday against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Straily has 175 strikeouts in 138 1-3 innings while splitting time between Double-A Midland and Triple-A Sacramento this season. That's 21 more strikeouts than major league leader Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals.
"I think we're all excited to watch him pitch," A's manager Bob Melvin said before Thursday's game vs. the Blue Jays. "Guys like that you find a way to get into the rotation. I've seen the video, I've seen the numbers and everybody is real excited, Tomorrow will be a very good day because of it — a lot of hype, and rightfully so."
Straily was in Oakland to watch Thursday night's game against the Blue Jays but won't be added to the A's 40-man roster until Friday.
The 23-year-old has a 2.60 ERA in 22 minor league games but it's the strikeout numbers that have the A's buzzing.
Straily recorded 108 strikeouts in 85 1-3 innings for Midland before getting promoted to the Sacramento.
He added another 67 strikeouts and allowed only eight earned runs in 53 innings there and had just finished charting pitches for a teammate when he was notified of the pending move up to the majors by River Cats manager Darren Bush.
"I sat there stunned," Straily said. "I honestly don't think I said a word. It's just been kind of a whirlwind the last 20 hours."
Straily, who once played summer ball in San Jose about 30 minutes south of the Oakland Coliseum, was in the A's clubhouse before the game but won't officially be added to the 40-man roster until Friday.
That's when he'll replace left-hander Travis Blackley in Oakland's rotation and make his first major league start. He will become the fifth rookie pitcher to start a game this season for the A's.
Straily doesn't have an overpowering fastball — he averages between 90-92 mph — but complements it with a slider and changeup that helped the fourth-round pick in 2009 quickly move through the A's farm system.
"What the organization has done very well this year is to target guys and not be afraid to get them here while they're hot," Melvin said. "The numbers would suggest he's a power pitcher but at times he can pitch to contact, too."
Straily's first order of business was trying to get enough tickets to Friday's game. His fiance, Amanda Miller, is with him in Oakland and several other members of his family are expected to make the trip.
"It's pretty shocking news to be honest," Straily said. "I feel honored to be brought up, I really do. This is the career goal, to be here."