The Tampa Bay Rays optioned or reassigned eight more players on Sunday, reducing the team’s Spring Training roster to 49.
Catcher Nick Ciuffo, pitchers Jake Faria and Andrew Moore, and INF/OF Andrew Velazquez were optioned to Minor League camp. Faria, who has put together a strong showing this Spring after performing to a 5.40 ERA across 65
Rays Manager Kevin Cash was encouraged by what he saw out of the right-hander, however, he explained to Faria that optioning him to AAA would give him the opportunity to be stretched out further.
It’s time for him to get on a routine; it’s not the easiest thing to do the routine here. And get him stretched out. The message was very similar to the message when he came in (to camp): how highly we think of him, what he’s capable of. We want to do everything we can to assist him (in) getting back to that 2017 form.
It’s going to take some time, but he did he did show really well for us in spring training, which was encouraging.— Kevin Cash
Faria, who had been optimistic about breaking camp with the team, told Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times) Sunday morning that he would be disappointed by such a move, however, he acknowledged that he knows he will eventually return as long as he respects the process.
Obviously I’d be disappointed just because you spend almost two years in the big leagues and then you go back to Triple A, but guys have done it. I’d still have a job, so that’s one thing. We’ll have to see. I’d be kind of bummed out. … But I know if I keep doing what I’m doing I’ll be back eventually.— Jake Faria
Four non-rostered players were also reassigned to the Minor Leagues, pitchers Ian Gardeck and Tyler Cloyd, infielder Jake Cronenworth, and IF/OF Nick Solak. Cloyd is the lone player of the bunch with big league experience.
In Grapefruit League action, Tampa Bay homered six times, including a tape-measure blast from Avisail Garcia, and two from Guillermo Heredia, in the 8-1 win over the reigning World Series champions. Tampa Bay has won both meetings against Boston this Spring.
Garcia’s homer off Hector Velazquez had a distance at 464 feet according to Trackman data. The homer was also measured at 111 mph off the bat, and at a 35-degree launch angle.
Garcia, who is coming off knee surgery, said he feels good thus far.
I’ve been feeling great, working really hard, My knee is healthy, that’s the most important thing. I’ve just got to keep working, and do my thing. It was a hard off-season, trying to rehab and get better every day. Coming in like this, how I feel right now, it’s amazing.— Avisail Garcia
Casey Sadler opened the game and was followed by seven other pitchers — including Colin Poche, Diego Castillo, Jose Alvarado, and Ryne Stanek — that allowed just five hits.
In spite of a difficult Spring for Poche, the southpaw showed well after he allowed a leadoff walk, coaxing a double-play grounder and a fly-ball out.
The New What Next
Tampa Bay will open a two-day north Pinellas County trek today in Clearwater, where they will face the $330-million man Bryce Harper and the Philadelphia Phillies. Rays Cy Young award winner Blake Snell will get the start for the Rays. Yonny Chirinos, Jalen Beeks, and Wilmer Font — three candidates for long relief/bulk inning jobs — are also scheduled to pitch.
Rays 3/11/19 Starting Lineup
- B. Lowe 2B
- Adames SS
- Kiermaier CF
- Garcia RF
- N. Lowe 1B
- Zunino C
- Coats LF
- Wong 3B
- Smolinski DH
- Snell LHP
— Cash told the media Sunday there was no update on third baseman Matt Duffy (hamstring), except that he will be out at least a few more days.
— Per Topkin, Tommy Pham, who was planning for a week of DH-only duty to work on strengthening his shoulder, was scratched from Sunday’s lineup but said he plans to be back Tuesday. Cash said the shoulder “is not bouncing back maybe like he wanted it to” and will take “two days off of nothing.” Pham said he expects to be back in the outfield by the end of the week.