Left-hander Jose Alvarado threw 10 of 15 pitches for strikes in the Tampa Bay Rays’ first live batting practice of Summer Camp, at Tropicana Field, while Chaz Roe returned to the field with an improved cutter.
Anthony Banda, Oliver Drake, and Andrew Kittredge also joined Alvarado for the live batting practice session.
Banda was the first to take the mound with the Trackman on the field. The masked southpaw had, by all accounts, a solid outing against Mike Zunino, Kevin Kiermaier, Hunter Renfroe and Brandon Lowe.
After coaxing a comebacker from Kiermaier and striking out Lowe and Renfroe, Rays manager Kevin Cash lauded Banda, who worked his way back from Tommy John surgery in 2018.
He looked good. He’s worked his way back. He throws pretty fearlessly. I watched him the other day get up on the mound and his first throw, he just let it go. That’s a good sign for a guy that has come back from injury, and he’s really confident with how his arm feels.— Kevin Cash
Oliver Drake followed Banda and faced Willy Adames, Michael Perez, Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, and Zunino.
Andrew Kittredge also threw on Tuesday, facing Kiermaier, Renfroe, Lowe, and Adames.
Yet Alvarado’s session was the most anticipated of the day. The southpaw faced Tsutsugo, Zunino, and Kiermaier in his 15 pitch session. Even though he bounced the first two pitches against Yoshi, Alvarado was able to battle his way back into the at-bat and collect a whiffy strikeout on the seventh pitch. He followed that by striking out both Zunino and Kiermaier.
I was really encouraged by Alvarado. We know if he can establish strikes, that’s when he gets so many chases out of the zone. He knows that he has to do that first. He’s got to establish that he can land the fastball and the breaking ball. The power looks unbelievable. He was throwing 97 mph the other day, and I don’t know what the gun reading was today, but I’m sure it was consistent with that.— Kevin Cash
Overall, Cash praised the pitchers and hitters, as well as the fielders, for the work they put in on Tuesday.
The hitters looked good, we had some well-placed pitches. We talked about pacing ourselves to bring the guys in and check where they’re at. I think we’ve been so pleasantly surprised, not surprised but just really in a good spot health-wise physically that we could challenge them a little bit more, a little bit quicker and raise the intensity.— Kevin Cash
Welcome Back, Chaz
The mystery behind Chaz Roe’s absence was cleared up in innocuous fashion on Tuesday: The right-hander was dealing with an infected blister on his middle finger.
In a Zoom call, Roe told Juan Toribio (MLB.com) that “the blister popped up just a few days before traveling back to St. Petersburg, and once he arrived, doctors told him it was best that he didn’t hang around the facility with an open wound. Now that he’s back on the field, Roe made it clear that his finger feels ready to go and that he’ll be ready to throw off the mound on Wednesday.”
Roe also mentioned that he had worked on his frisbee-like slider throughout the quarantine break, although his main focus was on improving his cutter, which he feels can help him out against southpaw hitters.
I came into the spring and I acquired a couple of new pitches, and it seemed to work out a lot to my benefit. After this whole thing shut down, I went home and kept working on it and tried to perfect it even more.— Chaz Roe
Four players — Randy Arozarena, Yonny Chirinos, Tyler Glasnow, and Jose Martinez — shave not been seen on the main field since the start of Summer Camp, and Austin Meadows has not been on the main field since Friday.
The team has not commented on why players were absent, or even if they were working out of sight. Teams have been told not to comment on COVID-19 related issues due to HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) concerns unless a player gives explicit permission.
…of Simulated Games or Scrimmages
Charlie Morton and Ryan Yarbrough are expected to throw in Wednesday’s simulated game/scrimmage with each expected to go four innings. A handful of players will hit, and four or five will spend time in the field then switch roles at the end of each frame.
Though it will be the closest live-action game atmosphere since the start of Summer Camp, Cash noted the blasé nature of the simulated game, saying it will be “pretty boring,” since it won’t be a full game and hitters won’t be allowed to run the bases.
Cash also told Toribio that the team will play another simulated game on Thursday, and it’s possible that they’ll have a pair of players from the Port Charlotte camp participating.
— It would appear that the City of St. Pete and the Rays are working on something at the Al Lang Stadium site. Note: Read the caption and comments.
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My wife and I risked our health to check out the new St. Petersburg Pier (responsibly, of course…masks on and socially distanced), and am I ever glad we did. The new Pier is fantastic! So much to see and do; a splash zone and a great play ground for the kids, so much green space full of native plants, and incredible views of the bay and downtown, among other things. Well done! • • • Now, I’d love to see @stpetefl shift its focus to affordable housing, reallocating money in the city’s budget to social services and mental health as opposed to disproportionately arresting people of color and folks from marginalized communities, investing money and resources in neighborhoods that need it (read: not gentrification, rather a model that considers the community at large, not forces low-income inhabitants out), continuing the infrastructure improvements, and getting a stadium built for the #Rays. How cool would it be to hang out at the Pier and shift your gaze to a beautiful new facility on the property that currently houses Al Lang Stadium? Daaaang! …And before anyone asks, no, I do not think all of that is mutually exclusive. #StPeteExPierience #StPetePier #DTSP #XRaysSpex