Michael Ynoa saw an immediate payoff from his strong spring training, as the 6-foot-7 right-hander was recalled to the major leagues Sunday after the White Sox placed outfielder Adam Eaton on the paternity list.
Unfortunately for Ynoa, Sunday's postponement meant his time in the majors was short-lived, for now.
Eaton left the White Sox on Saturday to be with his wife for the birth of their first child, Brayden. He’s expected to travel with the team to Minnesota on Sunday and be active Monday, meaning Ynoa will be sent back to the minor leagues without having the chance to play in his first major league game.
Ynoa, though, was appreciative of the chance he was given before the game was announced as being called off due to rain in the area.
“I’m still in shock,” Ynoa said. “I’m happy to be here, and thanks to the White Sox (for giving) me this opportunity. And I’m really happy. I’m really happy.”
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Ynoa, who the White Sox acquired from the Oakland Athletics in 2014’s Jeff Samardzija trade, didn’t allow a run in five Cactus League appearances, striking out six with three walks. The hard-throwing 24-year-old made one appearance with Double-A Birmingham before being called up, striking out one in a scoreless inning Thursday.
"Michael had an interesting day," manager Robin Ventura said. "It’s good for him. I think he would have much rather there had been a game, but again you are taking a young kid that earned an opportunity to come up here. He gets to be in the clubhouse, put his uniform on, feel a part of it."
Ynoa is a former top prospect — Baseball Prospectus ranked him as the game’s No. 20 prospect in 2009 and No. 66 in 2010. But he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2010 and didn’t pitch again until 2012, and didn’t regain much effectiveness until his time with Single-A Winston-Salem last year. In 40 innings out of the Dash’s bullpen, Ynoa had a 2.61 ERA with 40 strikeouts, 16 walks and two home runs.
But his work in spring training caught the eye of pitching coach Don Cooper, who figured Ynoa would be in the majors sooner rather than later — even though some brutal Midwestern weather meant he didn't get a shot to debut on Sunday.
"What I did I tell him (in spring) was, 'You're not that far away.' Boy, was I a prophet," Cooper said. "The thing about it, obviously he did very well in spring training but it's awful nice to be able to have a job that you can see people realize their dreams. It's a life-long dream, to be in the big leagues. Well, he's here and that's a wonderful thing. Don't be surprised if you see him in the game (Sunday)."