As I wrote previously, the Tampa Bay Rays acquired the recently designated LHP Xavier Cedeno from the Dodgers in exchange for cash considerations — he was added to the active roster on Tuesday afternoon. In order to make room for Cedeno on the 25-man roster, the team designated LHP Everett Teaford for assignment. He offers a true LOOGY option following the losses of Jeff Beliveau, who tore the labrum in his left shoulder, and C.J. Riefenhauser was also recently placed on the 15-day disabled list.
Cedeno took the mound for the first time in a Rays uniform Tuesday night, and tossed 2/3 innings of scoreless ball. He walked one (intentional) and struck out another on 15 pitches (6 strikes, 1 whiff). Cedeno threw breaking ball after breaking ball to Brett Gardner and Brian McCann, sandwiched around an IBB of Mark Texiera. Not every pitch was in the zone, yet the Yankees couldn’t get anything on them. He did not allow an inherited runner to score.
Beyond his seventh inning performance Tuesday night, you may be asking who is the Tampa Bay Rays newest acquisition? Let’s delve into that.
Cedeno, 28, is a journeyman pitcher who spent time with three different organizations — Rockies, Astros, and Nationals — prior to his acquisition by Tampa Bay.
His stuff isn’t overpowering, rather Cedeno tends to pitch off a mid-to-upper-80s cutter and a curveball that he uses as a put-away pitch. He also features a low 90’s four-seam fastball (which he uses sparingly) and upper 80’s sinker. The name of his game is deception, and he tends to vary his arm slot — between high three-quarters and low three-quarters — and leg kick based on the situation. That was evident last night.
Cedeno’s curveball — especially against lefties — and cutter generate a high number of swings and misses (a combined 31.81% whiff rate between the two). The cutter also has good cut action, which allows him to induce a good amount of weak contact, and force a fair share of flyball outs. His sinker may not be a true swing-and-miss pitch, yet Cedeno is able to force weak contact with; something that bodes well for both he and the Rays when you consider who’s playing behind him.
Cedeno has a relatively limited Major League track record, although he did post a 3.77 ERA (3.48 FIP) with a 10.5 K/9 in 31 innings for the 2012 Astros. He was restricted to just 22-1/3 big league innings after his 2012 campaign, tallying a 5.64 ERA along the way. The lefty was solid in 2013 when he faced 23 batters over six innings and posted a 9 K9. Opponents batted .227 against him with a .261 OBP.
Cedeno comes with an outstanding Triple-A track record, especially in 2014 when he amassed a 5-1 record in 39-1/3 innings, slashing a 2.29 ERA/2.37 FIP/13.04 K9/2.75 BB9/.69 HR9/.247 BABIP/80.5% LOB line with Washington’s Triple-A affiliate. He did well in the Puerto Rican winter league at the end of last season, pitching 21-2/3 innings and finishing with a 2.49 ERA while striking out 36 batters giving up just 11 hits.
— The Rays got some good news on Tuesday night as LHP Jake McGee made his first rehab appearance with the Charlotte Stone Crabs. McGee threw a 1-2-3 inning on nine pitches, six strikes.
— Drew Smyly will pitch for the Rays Wednesday afternoon. Masahiro Tanaka was scheduled to start, however he has been placed on the 15-day DL. Michael Pineda will take his place.
— Tampa Bay placed Kirby Yates on the major-league DL with a right pectoral strain. It appears he was hurt before being optioned to Triple-A Durham on April 15. Yates pitched three times for Durham. He becomes the 13th player to go on the DL in April, matching the Rangers for the most in the last 20 years.
— The Rays/Orioles games at Tropicana Field will be General Admission in the lower level only (excluding the DEX Imaging Home Plate Club), and will go on sale to the public at noon ET on Wednesday, April 29. The tickets will be $15 on Friday and Sunday, and $18 on Saturday. The games will start will start at 7:05 Friday and Saturday, and 1:35 on Sunday.