Ji-Man Choi and Michael Perez went deep while Charlie Morton impressed in his second outing of the spring, as the Tampa Bay Rays tied the Baltimore Orioles on Monday, 3-3.
Morton put together a much stronger performance than his first, tossing 2-1/3 scoreless innings while striking out one.
He looked really good; really good. Really efficient, all the pitches looked good. … Very crisp outing by him.— Kevin Cash
In his first outing of the Grapefruit League season, Morton threw just 11 pitches (five strikes, 45% strike rate), yet on Monday he was able to throw 28 pitches (15 strikes, 54% strike rate) in his second start against Baltimore. Morton, who was happy to work into the third inning, also got to work on his breaking balls, which is something he didn’t get a chance to do in his previous outing.
You can start to feel some fatigue there. Ups and downs are the most challenging because your body has become accustomed to that, kind of, cool down, heat up, cool down, it takes different stresses. I would rather have three ups and downs and throw 30 pitches than two innings and throw 45 [pitches]. I think that’s probably more beneficial.— Charlie Morton
Morton said he was happy with how his curveball and his slider/cutter looked during the outing, while also remarking that he was pleased with his second start of the spring.
Didn’t walk anybody, didn’t hit anybody. All in all, a pretty decent day.— Charlie Morton
You can hear Morton’s post outing interview in its entirety below, courtesy of Rays Radio.
In the batter’s box, Perez slugged his second home run of the spring in the fourth inning, a solo shot to left-center.
Perez is competing with Kevan Smith and Chris Herrmann to join Mike Zunino as one of the team’s two catchers. Through team translator Manny Navarro, Perez said he’s pleased with how the spring is going.
The goal is just to stay healthy. That’s my main goal. I do my work, and I trust my ability to use that into the game.— Micahel Perez
Choi also went yard, hitting a two-run blast to left in the sixth inning after a two-out single to righty by Hunter Renfroe.
Meanwhile, Joey Wendle continued his hot spring campaign, adding a double while just missing his second long ball in as many days. Wendle told Neil Solondz (Rays Radio) he’s made some adjustments offensively, and that using his “hips as a hinge“ when swinging is yielding good results.
It’s something that’s kind of a work in progress but I think the result will be …. the swing plane will be more conducive to elevating balls and driving balls as opposed to hitting low line drives and ground balls. That’s certainly a part of my game. It’s certainly something I don’t want to lose but at the same time, I have a little more in the tank in terms of gap to gap and driving the ball a little more frequently that I have in the past.— Joey Wendle
The New What Next
The Rays will travel to CoolToday Park in North Port to take on Atlanta for the second time this spring. Atlanta beat Tampa Bay, 12-0, on Saturday at Charlotte Sports Park. Left-hander Josh Fleming is scheduled to make his first start of the spring for Tampa Bay. We will post the starting lineup upon availability.
Rays 3/3/20 Starting Lineup
- B. Lowe 2B
- Martínez 1B
- Kiermaier CF
- Díaz DH
- N. Lowe 3B
- Zunino C
- Adames SS
- LaMarre RF
- Cozens LF
- Fleming LHP
— In an article for MLB.com, Juan Toribio writes the Rays aim to prevent coronavirus in camp.
With the coronavirus spreading into the United States, the Rays have begun to take some necessary steps in order to try and prevent the virus from affecting anyone in their Spring Training facility in Port Charlotte, Fla.
The club sent out a memo on Monday, reminding players, coaches and everyone involved with the team to be cautious. The memo encouraged everyone to be more mindful of washing and sanitizing their hands. They’ve also been encouraged to not high-five or shake hands, at least for the moment.
“I think we all have to take the precautionary measurements to do what we can,” manager Kevin Cash said. “We want to do everything we can to prevent anything like that from happening.”
The virus originated from China, but has since spread to South Korea, Italy, Iran, Japan, the United States and 61 other countries. On Sunday night, there were two reported cases in Florida: one in the Sarasota area, where the Rays played on Monday, and one in Hillsborough County.
Ji-Man Choi, whose mother and brother are living in South Korea, hasn’t been directly impacted by the coronavirus and his family is safe, but he’s keeping a close eye on what’s happening in his country.
“I’m very worried that this infection isn’t slowing down at all,” Choi said, through interpreter Steve Nam. “I am worried with all the Asian countries — Korea, Japan, China — so hopefully this all ends soon. That’s what I’m praying for.”
Choi added that he has offered his family a trip to the United States until the situation back home clears up. But because his town hasn’t been impacted, he hasn’t felt the need to try and move his family.
However, in order to remain cautious with the situation, Choi is asking all Korean media to do interviews outside the clubhouse, at least until there’s more information on the virus.
“I just want to be cautious, especially around the players,” Choi said. “I know it’s very important for them to have a great season and I don’t want to be affected by any of that, so I’m just being cautious with the Korean media.”
Yoshi Tsutsugo, who was born in Japan, also said his family is fine, but they remain cautious and vigilant of the news. Tsutsugo said he underwent quick testing for his temperature when he arrived from Japan last month, just to make sure that he didn’t have a fever.
Like Choi, Tsutsugo also expressed concern with the current situation, but also added that his family and friends have not been impacted.
“Of course I’m worried,” Tsutsugo said, through team interpreter Louis Chao. “But so far none of my friends and family have gotten the coronavirus, so that’s a good thing. But still, not just my friends and family, I hope everyone in Japan can get through all of this.”
— Speaking of coronavirus, according to the Associated Press officials from the National Basketball Association, National Hockey League and Major League Baseball says they are all consulting with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other organizations on a regular basis about COVID-19.
There are no immediate plans to cancel or postpone games or have them held in empty stadiums or arenas. Some of those contingencies have been taken in other countries, including Italy, where soccer matches were postponed until May.
Pro sports in the U.S., for now, are going on as scheduled, though leagues are closely monitoring the situation. The NBA and NHL are in their regular seasons and MLB in spring training in Arizona and Florida with Opening Day less than a month away.