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Nathan Alan Karns
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 3", Weight 230 lb.
- School North Carolina State University, Texas Tech University
- High School James W. Martin High School
- Debut May 28, 2013
Nate Karns made his major league debut in 2013.
Karns was picked by the Houston Astros in the 10th round of the 2006 amateur draft out of high school, one pick before Kris Medlen. He continued on to college and was 3-2 with a 2.67 ERA for NC State in 2007. Transferring to Texas Tech, he struggled (3-6, 8.46, 39 BB, .323 opponent average in 50 IP) as a sophomore. He improved to 4-5, 5.47 as a junior with 57 K to 30 BB in 54 1/3 IP. The Washington Nationals, behind scout Bob Laurie, chose him in the 12th round of the 2009 amateur draft.
Karns missed all of 2010 due to shoulder surgery. He split 2011 between the GCL Nationals (2 H, 0 R, 6 BB, 16 K in 18 2/3 IP) and Auburn Doubledays (3-2, 3.44, 27 BB in 36 2/3 IP). He only allowed one homer all year. He was much sharper in 2012, spent with the Hagerstown Suns (3-0, 2.03, 61 K in 44 1/3 IP) and Potomac Nationals (8-4, 2.26, 87 K in 71 2/3 IP). For the year, he allowed a .174 average. He led Nationals farmhands in strikeouts (9 ahead of Alex Meyer) and ERA (2.17, .69 ahead of Meyer) and tied for second in wins (with Yunesky Maya and Taylor Hill, trailing Zach Duke. He was named the Nationals' Minor League Pitcher of the Year. The righty opened 2013 with the Harrisburg Senators and was doing okay (4-2, 4.60, 55 K in 45 IP) after 9 games. He was called up to the majors to replace the injured Ross Detwiler.
Nate got the start for the Nationals in his major league debut on May 28, 2013 against fellow rookie Kevin Gausman of the Baltimore Orioles. He went 1-2-3 in the 1st, retiring Nate McLouth, Manny Machado and Nick Markakis in order. In the 2nd, though, he allowed a Chris Davis single and Matt Wieters RBI double. In his first at-bat, he bunted into a double play. In the 4th, he served up homers to Davis and J.J. Hardy. He left with two on and one out in the 5th, replaced by Duke, having given up 5 hits, 2 walks and 3 runs in 4 1/3 IP to get a no-decision; Duke got the win. He made three starts for the Nats, going 0-1, 7.50.
On February 13, 2014, he was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays in return for C Jose Lobaton and two minor leaguers - Felipe Rivero and Drew Vettleson. He spent the season in AAA with the Durham Bulls, going 9-9, 5.08 in 27 starts. He was called up to the majors in September and picked up his first big league win in his first appearance, a start against the Toronto Blue Jays on September 12th, He gave up only 2 hits and 2 walks in 7 innings, striking out 8 and defeated J.A. Happ, who pitched almost as well, 1-0, thanks to a solo homer by Ryan Hanigan. He lost his only other start to finish at 1-1, 4.50.
Karns won a job in the Rays' starting rotation at the beginning of 2015, and started the team's second game of the season on April 7th against the Baltimore Orioles. Things got off on the wrong foot as he gave up four runs in the 1st and another 2 in the 2nd, but he then settled down to pitch into the 6th inning without further damage; however, the hole he had dug himself was too deep, and he ended up a 6-5 loser. On July 21st, pitching against the Philadelphia Phillies, he was matched up against top prospect Aaron Nola, who was making his big league debut. However, he stole the show by hitting his first career homer off Nola on the first pitch of the 3rd inning for his first career hit. It turned out to be the only run of the game. He gave up 3 hits in 5 innings and got credit for the win, the first time in the history of interleague play that an American League team had won a game, 1-0, on a homer by a pitcher. In fact, the last AL pitcher to hit a homer for a game's only run was Milt Pappas of the Baltimore Orioles back in 1962. He was also only the second pitcher in Rays history to homer, following Esteban Yan. He made 26 starts in 27 appearances for the Rays, ending up with a record of 7-5, 3.67 in 147 innings, during which he struck out 145 opponents while walking 56. He led AL rookies in innings pitched and strikeouts. On November 5th, he was traded to the Seattle Mariners alongside P C.J. Riefenhauser and OF Boog Powell in return for IF Brad Miller, 1B Logan Morrison and P Danny Farquhar.
With the Mariners in 2016, he pitched 22 times, including 15 starts, going 6-2 with an ERA of 5.15. He struck 101 batters in 94 1/3 innings. It was his only season in Seattle, as on January 6, 2017, he was traded to the Kansas City Royals in return for OF Jarrod Dyson.