NEW YORK -- Welcome to the majors, Raul A. Mondesi.
The 20-year-old shortstop was put on the Kansas City Royals' World Series roster even though he hadn't appeared in a major league game, and Friday night he became the first player to make his debut in the World Series. He also became the youngest American League player to appear in a World Series since Claudell Washington played with the Oakland A's in the 1974 World Series, and the youngest player to appear in a World Series since Andruw Jones played for the Atlanta Braves in the 1996 World Series.
What did Mondesi get to do? He pinch hit for Royals reliever Danny Duffy in the top of the fifth inning, striking out swinging on a 1-2, 97 mph fastball from Noah Syndergaard, walking back to the dugout with a little smile on his face. He probably didn't see many of those pitches back in Double-A, where he hit .243/.279/.372.
Why was Mondesi even on the roster, considering his bat isn't close to major league-ready? In part, to provide added insurance in the middle infield for second baseman Ben Zobrist, whose wife is pregnant and due Nov. 10. Zobrist did indicate the other day that if his wife went into labor while the Royals were in New York he'd likely remain with the club, barring some sort of emergency, but the Royals played it safe and included Mondesi on the roster.
Still, it was a little strange to see manager Ned Yost use the rookie in this situation. Leading off an inning is still a fairly high-leverage situation, and the Royals were trailing 5-3 at the time. You can understand wanting to save Kendrys Morales for a potential situation with a runner on base, but Paulo Orlando or Jarrod Dyson would have seemed to be the more logical choice here, still leaving Yost with Morales, one of those two or backup infielder Christian Colon for later use in the game (along with light-hitting backup catcher Drew Butera).
Anyway, at least young Mondesi can say he has done something his father never did: In 13 seasons in the majors, Raul Mondesi never reached the World Series.