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Crockett shakes nerves in Major League debut

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CLEVELAND -- It took left-hander Kyle Crockett less than one year to reach the Majors after being taken in the fourth round of last summer's First-Year Player Draft by the Indians. It then took less than two innings for him to make his big league debut.

In the second inning of Cleveland's 11-1 loss to Oakland on Friday, Indians manager Terry Francona summoned the 22-year-old Crockett from the bullpen after starter Zach McAllister surrendered eight runs and recorded just one out in the frame. Earlier in the day, Crockett had been on a bus with his Double-A Akron teammates.

Crockett was understandably nervous.

"Definitely," he said with a smile on Saturday. "I got up pretty quick and had to get going fast, so the nerves weren't quite there in the 'pen. But, once you get out on the mound, you can't really feel your legs and you kind of have to focus a little harder. I think I was trying to do too much."

Crockett -- the Majors' first player to reach the big leagues from the 2013 Draft class -- issued a walk to Brandon Moss before inducing a double play off the bat of Yoenis Cespedes to escape the second. In the third, the left-hander gave up a leadoff home run to Jed Lowrie, but then settled down and created a pair of flyouts before leaving the game.

Francona was happy to help Crockett get his debut out of the way.

"I wish we were up [8-1] instead of down, but it's good he didn't sit here for three days and not pitch," Francona said. "That gets difficult. Now, he's got the first one out of the way. It's still going to be new, but he can start to be a part of what we're doing and try to help us win."

Crockett soared through Cleveland's system over the past two seasons, posting a 0.45 ERA with 48 strikeouts in 40 1/3 innings across three levels before reaching the Majors. Indians setup man Cody Allen -- the second player from the 2011 Draft to reach the Majors -- knows what it is like to rise to the big leagues quickly.

"I just told him, 'I know it's a whirlwind for you right now,'" Allen said, "'but there's a reason why you're here. It's because everybody in that office over there, the staff, everybody here believes you can do it, that you can pitch here. Just be yourself.'"

Allen remembers the kind of rookie jitters that Crockett experienced on Friday night.

"I remember my first outing, I walked the first two guys I faced," Allen said. "Everything was going a million miles an hour. And then my second outing, I felt a lot more comfortable. It's just one of those things where you have to learn gradually outing by outing how to slow the game down and make small adjustments in order to have success. I think he'll be fine."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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