Jake Odorizzi pitching in an intrasquad game, Monday, in Port Charlotte. (Photo courtesy of Marc Topkin)

The Tampa Bay Rays return to action today in Clearwater, where they’ll take on the Philadelphia Phillies for the second time in a week. Alex Cobb will make his third start of the Grapefruit League season.

Jake Odorizzi threw in an intrasquad game Monday, where his focus was — and has been throughout the spring — on improving upon his 2014 campaign. In his four inning appearance, Odorizzi threw 61 pitches (37 strikes) and allowed five base runners to reach (three hits, two walks) while ringing up three. The relaxed setting afforded Odorizzi to work in a pressure free environment, and manager Kevin Cash, pitching coach Jim Hickey and president of operations Matt Silverman were reportedly pleased with what they say. Cash told Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times), following Jake’s outing

He looked good. The last inning was kind of good to get his pitch count up and have some traffic on the bases to let him pitch out of a little bit when he was probably a little bit tired.

The Rays number four starter threw lots of first pitch curve balls and cutters, and he feels that he is in good place as far as preparation goes,

I think there’s plenty of room for improvement from last year to this year, and him being down doesn’t really change the way I need to think about myself.

Continuing with,

It went really well actually. You never know how these things can kind of go, but I thought overall it was really beneficial. I got to work on a lot of stuff that you typically wouldn’t work on in a spring training game.

Odorizzi told reporters that jumping to the third spot in rotation wouldn’t be a problem with Drew Smyly likely being out to start the season, meaning he’d pitch on April 8th against Baltimore instead of the 10th against the Marlins. Telling Topkin there is plenty of time to adjust his (Smyly’s) schedule, Odorizzi joked he’d miss getting to hit in Miami.

Rays 3/17/15 Starting Lineup

Kiermaier CF
Loney 1B
Cabrera SS
Longoria 3B
Jennings LF
Souza RF
Rivera C
Forsythe DH
Elmore 2B
Cobb P

Noteworthiness

  • Jake McGee is scheduled to throw off the mound today for the first time since his mid-December surgery. From there, McGee is slated for a couple of weeks of bullpen sessions, then will start his rehab assignment in mid April — rejoining the Rays by the end of the month or the first week of May.
  • Drew Smyly played catch for the second consecutive day, increasing to a distance of 90 feet.
  • After rejoining the team Sunday after a 2-1/2 week absence, Grant Balfour played catch with LHP Jordan Norberto and will likely face hitters in a bullpen session today, including OF Brandon Guyer (oblique/lat strain).
  • Congrats to Steven Souza, Baseball America’s fourth ranked rookie of 20 prospects to watch in 2015. Souza, who is also the only Ray on the list, slashed .317 BA/.399 OBP/.574 SLG/.973 OPS in more than 1,100 minor league plate appearances since 2012. 

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1 Comment

  1. It’ll be tough for the Rays to have a better season this year with the changes that have happened during this past offseason.

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