Matt Andriese impressing in bid for Rays' rotation

Matt Andriese pitches five shutout innings against the Twins and impresses the Rays with his control and his poise. WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times
Matt Andriese pitches five shutout innings against the Twins and impresses the Rays with his control and his poise.WILL VRAGOVIC | Times
Published March 26 2015

FORT MYERS — Rays manager Kevin Cash joked before Wednesday's game that starter RHP Matt Andriese was so quiet, he couldn't recall if he'd heard him speak.

But Andriese is getting plenty of attention for his pitching, furthering his bid for an unlikely spot in the injury-depleted season-opening rotation with five shutout innings, allowing three hits and striking out six, in Wednesday's 2-1 win over the Twins.

"I just try to stay consistent with myself and not try to worry about all the stuff that's going on," said Andriese, acquired from San Diego in January 2014. "Obviously, everybody knows that there's a competition going on. And I just try to go out there and not worry about that."

Cash liked how Andriese, 25, kept hitters off-balance, especially with his changeup; worked around a dangerous hitter in working out of trouble; threw a lot of strikes (48 in 75 pitches); and maintained his calm.

"It looks like his pulse is extremely low," he said. "To me, that's a good thing."

FIRST AT SECOND: With Nick Franklin likely sidelined at least a month, right-handed hitting Logan Forsythe, who was to be the lesser part of a platoon, becomes the primary 2B. "I think we're all very happy with how his spring has gone," Cash said. "He and (hitting coach Derek Shelton) have had a lot of conversations on a lot of adjustments, and they seem to have paid off as he's barreled up a lot of balls."

Forsythe, however, also looks to be the backup to 1B James Loney, though Cash said they could revisit trying John Jaso there and likely won't use OF Steven Souza Jr.

Franklin's absence increases the opening day possibilities for Tim Beckham, who said he is just as comfortable at second as short, and Jake Elmore, who will catch another bullpen session soon to show his versatility.

MEDICAL MATTERS: Top starter Alex Cobb (forearm tightness) had a good one-week checkup with Dr. Koco Eaton on Tuesday and hopes to resume throwing by the weekend. "The pain is pretty much gone," Cobb said. "I can't even make it hurt." Cash said they were pleased with the progress but wouldn't commit to a date. … C Rene Rivera returned to the lineup after missing several days with left calf tightness and said he felt good, especially after homering in his first at-bat. … OF Brandon Guyer (right ankle sprain) got six at-bats in a minor-league game with no issues. … RHP Alex Colome (pneumonia) felt good after a 25-pitch bullpen session and will have another Friday. … LHP Drew Smyly (shoulder tendinitis) throws his third bullpen session today but won't be ready to advance to games until after spring training. … RHP Ronald Belisario (left shoulder fracture) will throw his first bullpen session today. … LHP Matt Moore (Tommy John recovery) resumed throwing after a two-week break and has a bullpen session Friday.

GAME DETAILS: After Rivera's homer put the Rays (10-9-1) up, LHP Jeff Beliveau gave up a mammoth shot to Kennys Vargas. … The Rays won it in the ninth when OF Joey Butler drew a two-out walk, went to third on minor-leaguer Joey Rickard's single and scored when minor-leaguer Leonardo Reginatto hustled to first to beat the throw on a ground ball. … RHP Brandon Gomes had his sixth scoreless outing.

MISCELLANY: New commissioner Rob Manfred will visit camp and meet with Rays players today. … Emily Austen, who replaced Kelly Nash on the Sun Sports TV crew, debuts on today's broadcast. … INF Alex Rodriguez, who trained in Port Charlotte with the Rangers in 2001-02, is not on the Yankees' travel squad for today's game.

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