Charlie Morton and Ryan Yarbrough pitched effectively in the Tampa Bay Rays’ first game action of Summer Camp, on Wednesday. Southpaw Blake Snell, as well as right-hander Trevor Richards also showed well during the simulated game/scrimmage.
Morton and Yarbrough each got four “ups” as scheduled, and made the most of the opportunity.
Morton faced Yandy Díaz, Michael Perez, Daniel Robertson, and Joey Wendle, and gave up two runs on four hits while striking out three across four innings. He threw 37 of 47 pitches for strikes (79% strike rate).
The right-hander allowed a double to center to Wendle in the third inning, followed by an RBI single to right-center to Díaz. Then in the fourth, after retiring three straight batters, Morton asked for a fourth batter to add to his pitch count. He quickly got ahead of battery-mate, Perez, before the backstop homered to right on a 1-2 pitch.
Still, Morton felt good after his four-inning outing.
Overall I felt pretty good. I think my stuff is kind of getting to where it needs to be. Today I went out there for a fourth up and felt like I was working on my endurance and still had pretty decent stuff in the fourth.— Charlie Morton
Meanwhile, Yarbrough faced Brandon Lowe, Willy Adames, Mike Zunino, and Ji-Man Choi, tossing 3-1/3 scoreless frames. He allowed a hit to Willy Adames while striking out three. The left-hander threw 23 of 38 pitches for strikes (61% strike rate) and called the outing a step in the right direction.
Yarbrough embraced his success after such a long layoff…even though it came if that success came at the expense of his own teammates.
It was great. It was nice because we had faced hitters, but it was either in a bullpen session or on the field. But it was nice to throw to a catcher instead of one of the bullpen guys. Plus having guys behind you just so you can get an idea of how everything is moving, how guys are making contact. It was definitely a step in the right direction and kind of just building up that way. …I feel like I’m right where I need to be to hit the ground when the season starts. At this point just continue that process and as the season gets closer, be ready to go.— Ryan Yarbrough
Once Morton was done with his session, Snell took the mound and put together a nice little 1-2/3 inning while fanning threw. He faced Díaz, Wendle, Perez, and Robertson, and tossed 14 of 23 pitches for strikes (61% strike rate). Snell collected punchouts of Wendle and Díaz and got Robertson to pop out to short.
Snell received a cortisone shot in his left elbow during Spring Training 1.0, although it would appear that his elbow issue now is a thing of the past.
After this last week and a half of throwing, I’m pretty past it. My arm feels really good. I’m not worried about it. I don’t think about it. I don’t think you guys should think about it either. I feel really good and I’m going to continue to feel better with the amount of work that I’m going to put in to make sure that I’m consistently ready to go. Definitely looking forward to it.— Blake Snell
Richards Yarbrough and was, arguably, the most impressive of the group. Lowe, Adames, Zunino, and Choi all got two at-bats against the right-hander, yet none of them had any success.
In 2-2/3 innings of work, Richards fanned seven on 34 pitches. Adames, Choi, and Zunino each struck out twice, while the only ball put in play was a popup to the catcher off the bat of Lowe.
I don’t know if we saw the best of Trevor at any point last year, but his stuff is pretty unique. He has a lot of carry, hides the ball well and I think Willy swung at a changeup. That changeup from behind almost looks like a breaking ball the way it drops. The changeup is going to be the big equalizer. When we see that pitch on, he’s generally on track for a pretty good outing.— Kevin Cash
While many of the hitters showcased good timing on Wednesday, Rays skipper Kevin Cash highlighted Díaz, the muscle-bound line-drive machine, who lined a single to left and an RBI base hit to right-center.
He’s pretty incredible, just get out of bed and hit. He looked like there had been no time off at all. He’s got that natural timing.— Kevin Cash
Also of note, the outfielders worked outside on Wednesday, while infielders playing behind the pitchers.
They got really good work. It was really hot (outside).— Kevin Cash
Don’t get too comfortable indoors Lowe, Choi, and company…a role reversal on Thursday. More on Thursday’s plans are in Noteworthiness.
The New What Next
Another day, another simulated game/scrimmage is scheduled for Thursday. The Rays manager would not disclose who would throw, although the team does plan to bring in additional pitchers from Port Charlotte for future simulated events.
I think we came into this thinking we weren’t bringing pitchers over. We’re probably going to need to do that, not just for them but for our hitters to get reps. Generally at this time in a normal spring hitters are getting at-bats every day. I know the hitters today got a bunch, but we’ve got to find a way where it’s close to everyday at-bats or two out of three days.— Kevin Cash
— Four players — Randy Arozarena, Yonny Chirinos, Tyler Glasnow, and Jose Martinez — still have not been seen on the main field since the start of Summer Camp, while Austin Meadows has not been on the main field since Friday.
The team has not commented on why players were absent, or even if they were working out of sight. Teams have been told not to comment on COVID-19 related issues due to HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) concerns unless a player gives explicit permission.
— According to Neil Solondz (Rays Radio), Brendan McKay also was not seen playing catch or throwing a bullpen for a second consecutive day, but he may have been working out at other parts of the ballpark.