Tyler Glasnow and Blake Snell got in one last tuneup before Opening Day on Tuesday, while Ji-Man Choi and Ronaldo Hernández went yard, as the Tampa Bay Rays tied the Tampa Bay Rays in a six-inning intrasquad scrimmage.
Glasnow struck out five but also walked four across three innings of work, throwing 68 pitches (39 strikes, 57% strike rate). It was the right-hander’s second time facing hitters during Summer Camp after testing positive for COVID-19, which held him out for the first two weeks of Spring Training 2.0. Still, Glasnow reached the upper 90s on his fastball, although his offspeed stuff — his curveball and changeup — lacked some command.
The feel for things wasn’t there today, but as far as like stuff and physical, how ready I am, I feel really good. Just couldn’t get my curveball over and I think it was just easier for guys to sit on heaters.— Tyler Glasnow
In the top of the third with runners on first and second, Glasnow made a costly mistake against Ji-Man Choi, who blasted a three-run homer off a center-center fastball.
Nevertheless, Glasnow feels ready for the start of the season, telling the media in a Zoom call that he feels he could go five or six innings if he pitches efficiently.
Meanwhile, Snell was frustrated by his two-inning outing, as he was unable to record the final out of each frame. The southpaw walked four — two free passes to Yandy Díaz — while striking out two on 47 pitches (23 strikes, 49% strike rate).
After the game, Snell said he felt really good physically, yet he conceded he isn’t “100 percent ready” and it may take him a handful of starts to get to five or six innings stamina-wise. Ultimately, that decision will come down to pitching coach Kyle Snyder.
Frustrated today, for sure. It’s frustrating because I know how good I wanna be and how good I am, but I have to learn these things a lot quicker. A lot to learn from and a lot to break down. I’ll make sure to do that tonight and tomorrow and we’re going to start to get this thing rolling here and try our best to get a World Series season here.— Blake Snell
Hernández had another impressive game Tuesday, hitting a towering home run off of a center-center fastball from Trevor Richards, then following that with an RBI double off Shane McClanahan. Over the last two days, Hernández has collected four hits — three of them for extra bases.
That, however, is not to diminish Richards’ outing in any way, as the right-hander threw three very good innings and allowed just one run on 52 pitches (40 strikes, 77% strike rate). With Glasnow, Snell, and Yonny Chirinos not fully stretched out, and Colin Poche set to miss all of the 2020 season (more on that below), the right-hander could help in a variety of roles.
He’s been a bright spot for us. The changeup seems to be really factoring in as a big weapon for him.— Kevin Cash
The Shanes — Baz, and McClanahan — both pitched on Tuesday and looked sharp in their outings.
Baz pitched a perfect inning and showed off his power fastball, reaching 98.8 mph on the Trop’s in-house radar gun. Meanwhile, McClanahan — and his deceptive release point — allowed one run on the above mentioned RBI double to Hernández.
Despite missing the first two weeks of camp due to COVID-19, first baseman/DH José Martínez collected three hits, showing he might be getting his timing back in the batter’s box, and played all six innings at first base. Martínez lined a single off Snell in the first inning and followed that up with another base hit off Richards in the fifth. Rays manager Kevin Cash is confident that Martínez will be ready to go on July 24th, although they will have that conversation on Wednesday.
Poche Out For the Season
Prior to the start of the scrimmage, the Rays received some bad news, learning that Poche tore his ulnar collateral ligament and will be lost for the 2020 season and likely a good part of 2021. Tommy John surgery has been recommended to the southpaw.
It’s pretty significant. He’s a guy, you take away a couple (of) solo home runs here and there, and he was pretty dominant for us at points. He really got on some good runs and really was going to keep developing as a pitcher. We’re going to have to hit the pause button on that and it’s going to present another opportunity for somebody else to come and fulfill a big role that we anticipated him fulfilling.— Kevin Cash
Poche, who struck out 72 in 51-2/3 innings last season, has been placed on the 45-day injured list, where he does not count on the 40-man roster or 60-man player pool.
It’s a tough loss for Tampa Bay, which now will lean on Jose Alvarado and Aaron Loup as the primary bullpen left-handers to begin the season. Right-handers Oliver Drake and Pete Fairbanks also were very good against southpaw hitters last season.
We do feel confident that we have guys that certainly can do special things like (Poche) can. If we can get Alvarado like we’ve seen him during those runs, we should be pretty good.— Kevin Cash
Tampa Bay also has the option of bringing in left-handers Jalen Beeks or Anthony Banda against left-handed-dominant lineups, not to mention prospects McClanahan or Josh Fleming, who will likely start the season in Port Charlotte.
If Poche elects to have surgery, it will be the second time he will undergo the procedure, with the first one coming in 2014 when he was in college.
Rays to Carry Three Catchers on the Roster
With Poche headed to the IL, the Rays added catcher Kevan Smith to the 40-man roster. With the move, the Rays’ skipper said the club will carry Smith — who is out of options, meaning Tampa Bay would have to carry him on the Opening Day roster to keep him — Mike Zunino, and Michael Perez on the 30-man roster to start the season.
We’re confident that we will start the season with three catchers. All three are deserving and I think we’ll benefit from having the depth at that position. It allows us to be creative with some of our in-game decisions and lineup construction.— Kevin Cash
As Juan Toribio (MLB.com) noted, Smith had an opt-out clause, and Tampa Bay decided to add him, rather than have him become a free agent.