Rienzo's debut historic for Brazil

Rienzo's debut historic for Brazil

CLEVELAND -- Before Cleveland catcher Yan Gomes was even asked the question pregame Tuesday, he knew what was coming.

Andre Rienzo, the White Sox rookie right-hander, was scheduled to make his Major League debut at Progressive Field with Gomes hitting ninth against him. They represent the only natives of Brazil in the Majors.

"I guess it's just another big step for what we've been talking about, getting Brazil on the map," said Gomes, who didn't know Rienzo growing up but caught him on the first night of the 2013 World Baseball Classic qualifying tournament. "It's going to be exciting. We're both kind of nervous. I'm even kind of nervous, and I've been up here for a little bit already. It'll be exciting to see what he does. Hopefully, he sticks around."

ESPN Brazil broadcast the Indians' 7-4 comeback victory across the country, according to the White Sox. Additionally, ESPN Brazil will be picking up the raw audio/video feed of WCIU's broadcast, with Ken "Hawk" Harrelson and Tom Paciorek (subbing for Steve Stone) being heard across Brazil during the broadcast. According to Major League Baseball's international broadcasting department, there was not Portuguese subtitles on the broadcast.

Josh Phegley caught Rienzo with Triple-A Charlotte and provided a thorough scouting report of what to expect.

"He's got a good fastball to both sides of the plate. He's got a two-seamer and a four-seamer," said Phegley of the club's No. 17 prospect per MLB.com. "But good offspeed, good breaking stuff. I think he's got a big, sharp curveball and a cutter/slider kind of thing. He's effective. He throws them all for strikes. He's going to be pretty good.

"Huge competitor. He's a bulldog out there. He's an awesome guy to have in the clubhouse. I've seen him for a couple of years. He's just going to go out there and give you everything he's got. He's a perfectionist on the mound. He just competes. He wants to throw his best pitch every pitch."

Having Phegley in place should help Rienzo with the adjustment process.

"I remember how nervous I was on my first day," Phegley said. "It's going to be hard to go from telling him to just relax and throw your game."

Rienzo allowed three runs (all unearned) over seven innings in a no-decision. Gomes went 1-for-2 against with a walk and a strikeout against his countryman.

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.