Tyler Glasnow hit the century mark with his fastball in his first start of the Spring, while Joey Wendle avoided injury on Monday, as the Tampa Bay Rays fell to 0-1 in the 2021 Knutson Cup, losing to the Minnesota Twins, 6-5.
Wendle walked off the field with just a facial contusion after he was beaned in the helmet by a Lewis Thorpe fastball in the first inning. After he was hit, the infielder stumbled out of the batter’s box and doubled over near the dugout, where he was checked by manager Kevin Cash and the Rays training staff. Wendle said he was checked over again after he exited the game and doesn’t have any further testing scheduled.
It was pretty close. Probably more scary than anything. I wasn’t sure immediately where it had hit, but I’m pretty confident it got all helmet and then the helmet just kind of whacked my face pretty good. But everything feels good, thankfully. … There’s nothing too tender. It just kind of feels like I got punched, not necessarily got hit by a baseball, so I’ll take the former of those two. Everything feels fine. Might have some bruising or might not, but overall, I think I lucked out big time. … Thankful, honestly. It was a close call, and (I’m) glad it was nothing more.— Joey Wendle
Rays manager Kevin Cash said that Wendle was already scheduled to sit out Tuesday’s contest, and if he’s cleared to play Wednesday, he’ll return to the lineup against the Pirates. He was thankful that they, presumably, avoided the worst possible outcome.
We were all scared. Hopefully, we avoided something. We’ll check on him this afternoon, throughout the day, throughout the night. But Joe popped back down after Joey went up and said that he thinks he’s going to be all right.— Kevin Cash
Meanwhile, Glasnow hit triple digits four times in a 10-pitch first inning, including seven strikes. Then in the second, he allowed a first-pitch home run to Brent Rooker and got the next two outs before he walked three of his final four batters. Overall, he was charged with two runs on two hits and three walks with three strikeouts across 1-2/3 frames. Most of his pitches were close, throwing 20 of 35 pitches for strikes (57% strike rate). He was pleased by his first outing of the Spring.
I’m a relatively slow starter. I just think it’s more of getting a rhythm and getting back to that competition aspect. It was honestly just really good to be out there again, to feel that again and then kind of figure out what you need to build on and then just go out and do it again in five, six days. … I think especially for the first one of Spring as long as I can go out and like have some good quality reps I’m good to go. Second inning didn’t go as planned but I feel very good, and I’m happy with where I am right now.— Tyler Glasnow
Glasnow mostly threw heaters against the Twins, although he also mixed in three curveballs, a 92-mph changeup (taken for a called strike), and a few of the cutter/slider breaking pitch he’s been working on, which clocked in around 86-87 mph. The right-hander said that he doesn’t need his new toy to be “devastating” per se, rather he was pleased by the shape, velocity, and that he could throw it for strikes.
Cash mimicked those thoughts, saying:
I know he’s pretty excited about it, and he should be because he feels like he can land that pitch (for strikes) fairly consistently,. With Glas, it’s a lot of fastballs at the top of the zone [and] featuring that snap curveball right off that fastball. … A slider has a little bit more shape, a little bit more tilt to it, and something that he can harness in the zone a little bit better.— Kevin Cash
The New What Next
Michael Wacha will get the start on Tuesday against Boston. Right-handers Odom, Gomez and Hunt, and southpaws Gray, Quroz, Lukes, Boldt, and Mastrobuoni are also available to pitch in relief of Wacha.
Rays 3/2/21 Starting Lineup
- Adames SS
- Mejia C
- Arozarena LF
- Franco DH
- Margot RF
- Phillips CF
- Walls 2B
- Padlo 3B
- Kelly 1B
- Wacha RHP
— Because they will play a nine-inning contest which will air on ESPN Tuesday afternoon, Monday’s game was called after six innings at the Rays’ request.
— Right-hander Chris Archer and southpaws Rich Hill and Cody Reed faced hitters in live batting practice on Sunday. Archer’s fastball velocity (clocking in between 91-94 mph) and the slider were both where the team expected them to be. Meanwhile, Hill spun his breaking balls from different arm angles.
Cash said while they all looked “totally game-ready,” they could throw one more live batting practice session before getting into Grapefruit League games. All three are on different timelines in order to be ready for Opening Day.
— Ji-Man Choi (right knee soreness) is expected to DH on Wednesday and if all goes well, would do the same on Thursday.
Kevin Kiermaier (hip tightness) took batting practice on Monday and will take live batting practice again on Tuesday. He was also in centerfield for pre-game cut-off/relay drills. Hitting coach Chad Mottola said the team was “probably going a little slow intentionally.”
Rather be sure than test it, and we have to protect him against himself sometimes. There’s plenty of time left. Six weeks (of Spring Training])is for the pitchers. It’s not for the hitters. … As far as functional movement, yeah, he’s full-go.— Chad Mottola