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The 31-year-old rookie: Scott Rice makes Mets final roster out of spring training

Scott Rice

York Revolution alum Scott Rice (’11) has earned the final spot in the Mets bullpen out of spring training, his first Major League roster spot in 15 professional seasons.  While he becomes the fourth Revolution alum to reach the Majors, he will become the very first to make his MLB debut after wearing a Revs uniform.

A season ago, Rice was the final cut from Dodgers big league spring training.  As he headed to Triple-A Albuquerque, it was assumed he was a lock to get called up to L.A. during the season.  That call never came and he signed with the Mets as a free agent during this offseason.  It was an ironic move, as the Mets medical staff may have saved Rice’s career; he struggled with an elbow injury that prevented this sure-fire prospect from reaching the big leagues much sooner than 2013, and it was the Mets medical staff who properly diagnosed it after others failed to, despite Rice not being with the Mets at the time.

At 31, Rice will likely be the oldest rookie on any MLB Opening Day roster.  After he appeared on the roster of Triple-A Las Vegas earlier this week, it looked like he would start another season in the minors, but at long last his big league dream is realized.  Here is the full press release from the Revolution after the jump:

The York Revolution are proud to announce that another alumnus of the franchise has gone on to reach the Major Leagues, as left-handed pitcher Scott Rice has made the Opening Day roster of the New York Mets.  The news was reported this afternoon by Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.  Rice’s first game pitched for the Mets will mark the 31-year-old’s Major League debut.

Entering his 15th professional season, Rice has made a Major League roster for the first time.  Rice opened the 2011 season in the Revolution bullpen, going 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA in 15 games before earning a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers where he was even better at Double-A Chattanooga, owning a 1.95 ERA in 34 outings.  Last season, Rice was the Dodgers’ final cut from Major League spring training, spending the campaign with Triple-A Albuquerque where he rolled out a 4.40 ERA with nine saves in 54 games before signing with the Mets during the off-season.

“Scott is the ultimate professional,” remarked Revs manager Mark Mason, who was Rice’s pitching coach in York.  “He was constantly working on his weaknesses even when he was dominating hitters.  I’m extremely happy for him.  It’s great to see him get this wonderful opportunity.  It’s very well deserved.”

Rice had previously pitched in the Atlantic League with the Long Island Ducks in 2008 and the Newark Bears in 2009.  His professional career began in 1999 when he was a first-round draft pick of the Baltimore Orioles out of Royal High School in Simi Valley, CA.

Rice is the fourth Revolution alumnus to go on to the Major Leagues after playing in York, and the first to make his Major League debut.  He joins outfielder Tike Redman who began the 2007 season in York and ended that campaign with the Baltimore Orioles, lefty Justin Hampson who pitched for York in 2010 and returned to the Majors with the Mets last season, and right-hander Shawn Hill who went from York back to the Majors with the Toronto Blue Jays last year.  Rice becomes the third Revs alumnus to reach the Major Leagues in just the last two seasons.

-DH & PB

Rice spent the duration of spring training in Mets Major League camp.  His incredible patience is finally rewarded as a 31-year-old Major League rookie.

Rice spent the duration of spring training in Mets Major League camp. His incredible patience is finally rewarded as a 31-year-old Major League rookie.

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