New York Giants star Hayden Birdsong will make his MLB debut on Wednesday against the Chicago Cubs – NBC Sports by Area and California

SAN FRANCISCO — Despite missing several key pieces in their starting lineup, the New York Giants plan to call up rookie Hayden Birdsong to make his MLB debut on Wednesday.

Manager Bob Melvin made the announcement before Tuesday’s game against the Chicago Cubs at Oracle Park and said the team has high expectations for the 22-year-old right-hander.

“We’re excited about it,” Melvin said. “In my opinion, he’s going to have a long big-league career. He’ll probably be starting, a little sooner than we expected because of the need and maybe pitching better out there. I think that’s why the decision was made.”

The Giants haven’t had a healthy starting rotation for much of the season. NL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell and newcomer Robbie Ray, along with Alex Cobb and Keaton Wynn, have been sidelined at various times with a variety of injuries.

A sixth-round pick in 2022, Birdsong is one of the Giants’ top pitching prospects. He started the season in Double-A Richmond where he went 4-2 with a 2.05 ERA. With an extensive repertoire of pitches, Birdsong racked up 61 strikeouts in 48 1/3 innings.

He was promoted to Triple-A Sacramento on June 15 and has continued to impress, striking out 14 batters in nine innings over two starts. Birdsong threw 91 pitches in his last start with the River Cats, so he has the potential to go deep into games.

“His start at Triple-A was good,” Melvin said. “He can throw what you would think a baserunner would throw out of the gate. Look, there’s some risk with a guy who was just in Triple-A. He’s a young kid, and he’s very talented.”

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Birdsong spent time with the Giants during spring training, so Melvin and the staff were already familiar with him before seeing his work in the minors.

“You see his bullpens, he’s a real starter and he’s a talent,” Melvin said. “He’s young but it’s very exciting to think he’s going to get a chance to start, especially here at home.”

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