Red Sox

McAdam: Kyle Hart bucks the odds to make his major league debut Thursday

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(Getty Images)

There are can't-miss, blue-chip prospects in the game, who rocket through the minor leagues and arrive with just a year (or less) of pro ball.

They're profiled in Baseball America, projected as likely Rookie of the Year candidates and seemingly headed for stardom.

Then there's Kyle Hart.

Hart is none of those things. He didn't get drafted until his senior year of college. He didn't get placed on a 40-man roster for the first time until last winter. And when he makes his major league debut, starting for the Red Sox Thursday afternoon against the Tampa Bay Rays, he'll be just three months shy of his 28th birthday.

All of which makes the long wait all the more worth it.

"I think that's the beauty of the game,'' said Hart. "I've been at every level of this game and I've seen every type of player -- come up, make it, not make, somewhere in the middle, young guys, old guys, uber-talented guys, guys maybe with less talent, more grit. I've seen a lot of different types of players. I'm proud of the type of player that I am and the player that's going to debut tomorrow (afternoon).''

Hart has never had anything handed to him. He was a 19th round pick out of the University of Indiana and has spent parts of the last five seasons in the minor leagues. When he went undrafted as a junior and returned for his senior year at Bloomington, he wondered