The Tampa Bay Rays collected their fourth win of the spring on Friday in an 8-1 routing of the reigning World Series champs. Ryan Yarbrough was effective albeit rather inefficient, while 18-year-old wunderkind, Wander Franco, collected his first big league hit.
Yarbrough got the start and hurled two scoreless innings, although he needed 45 pitches (27 strikes, 60% strike rate) to get six outs, including four punchouts. The left-hander acknowledged that he was nibbling too much early on before he made an adjustment to be “way more aggressive.” Yarbrough allowed an unearned run due to an error by right-fielder Randy Arozarena.
Trevor Richards followed Yarbrough and tossed a pair of shutout innings, while Jalen Beeks and Anthony Banda — both of whom threw an inning apiece — were again sharp.
Non-roster invitee RHP Sam McWilliams caught the attention of Kevin Cash and pitching coach Kyle Snyder, clocking in at 96-99 mph during his scoreless inning of work. McWilliams struck out one batter.
Franco, playing in his second consecutive exhibition game in as many days, collected his first big-league hit in the fourth and final at-bat of his day. In Franco’s first at-bat against Stephen Strasburg, he struck out, then he popped out and grounded out before lining a single to center off Kyle Finnegan.
Franco told Steve Carney (WDAE) that it was good to get finally hit it where they ain’t…in not so many words, of course.
It felt good. I was really anxious to get that first hit. And I felt like my heart dropped after I hit it.— Wander Franco
Brian O’Grady continued his impressive spring campaign, hitting a long home run and a two-run double to lead the Rays to victory.
Back at home, in Port Charlotte, Yoshi Tsutsugo was given the day off from playing and working out. Meanwhile, Brent Honeywell Jr. (Tommy John surgery, fracture) threw his first bullpen session of the spring today.
Honeywell said it was a big day for him, and it went well.
I was excited, I got out of it what I thought I should have got out of it, if not more. It was good to be back up there for sure (on a mound). I felt at home a little bit. I felt like I was in the right place where I was supposed to be. So it was an exciting day for sure.— Brent Honeywell
The right-hander also felt different than last season but in a good way. Honeywell threw only fastballs and noted that 14 of the 15 pitches he threw were strikes, a good indicator that his command was still there. And while Honeywell didn’t want to put a timetable on his recovery, he feels that he is on the right track.
My command was still there, and that was the biggest thing. Honestly, it’s been my biggest focus, even coming out of Tommy John was being able to throw the ball where I’d like to throw the ball. That was really big, big point and I was really happy with today.— Brent Honeywell
You can hear Honeywell’s interview in full on the SoundCloud player below, courtesy of Rays Radio.
The New What Next
The Rays will face Atlanta Saturday night at their new spring complex. Yonny Chirinos will get the start, while Chaz Roe, José Alvarado, and Nick Anderson (among others) are expected to pitch. We will post the starting lineup upon availability.
Rays 2/29/20 Starting Lineup
- Meadows LF
- Renfroe RF
- Lowe 2B
- Martinez 1B
- Tsutsugo 3B
- Margot CF
- Adames SS
- Herrmann C
- Perez DH
- Chirinos RHP