Sunday, November 19, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

New Ray Odorizzi impresses

RECOMMENDED READING


PORT CHARLOTTE — Blue-chip OF prospect Wil Myers has gotten most of the attention as the centerpiece of the trade that sent RHP James Shields and others to Kansas City.

But the Rays are excited about some of the other pieces they got back, and they got a good look during live batting practice Tuesday at one, RHP Jake Odorizzi.

"We keep talking about the delivery, and his ability to throw the ball where he wants to, I can see why: it's very simple," manager Joe Maddon said. "I'm also seeing good makeup. I'm seeing the real calm demeanor even when he's out there. When you speak to him you kind of get that from him, and then you watch him and it's the same thing, and it's kind of nice. So he's very interesting."

David Price and most of the Rays' other starters gathered behind the cage to watch Odorizzi, and they, too, were impressed.

"Great stuff," RHP Alex Cobb said. "Price said he looked like a little (Zack) Greinke out there."

Odorizzi, 22, made it to the majors with the Royals at the end of last season but is likely headed to Triple-A Durham to wait his turn with the Rays. For now, he is just trying to fit in and not try to impress his new bosses, focusing on the drill at hand.

"I knew that people were going to be watching since it was the first time, but I just wanted to go out there and not do anything different than what I normally do," he said.

PITCHING IN: Look for RHP Roberto Hernandez to start Saturday's home exhibition opener vs. Pittsburgh, with RHP Jeff Niemann among those working in relief. The Rays had the scheduling misfortune of a split-squad opener, so they also have to staff a game in Fort Myers vs. the Red Sox. Prospect RHP Alex Colome is a candidate to start there. … RHP Joel Peralta said his stiff neck is all but gone and he expects to resume throwing on schedule. … RHP Juan Sandoval, the reliever who is blind in one eye, was pleased with his first batting practice session, though Maddon said he may have been "a little over-amped." … Cobb threw, as usual, without the protective screen many pitchers use, saying he feels it limits his extension.

IN THE SWING: Myers, who just tracked pitches during his first live batting practice session Monday, said he felt good enough Tuesday to start swinging. And that he did, taking a half-dozen hacks against LHPs Cesar Ramos and Jake McGee, fouling a few off but connecting on a couple line drives.

"I felt good in there," Myers said. "My timing was good. I was able to make some good contact on a couple balls, and I laid off some pitches that I needed to."

McGee said he was impressed, especially the way Myers took a middle-in fastball to rightfield. So, too, was Ramos: "You can tell he's strong, has some raw power."

MISCELLANY: There was work on bunt defense plays before batting practice and an extended session of situational hitting afterward. … INF/OF Ben Zobrist will speak and wife Julianna will sing in a free show at 7 p.m. Thursday at St. Petersburg's First United Methodist Church (212 Third St. N).

Times staff writer Joe Smith contributed to this report.

Comments
Topkin: As Rays start dealing, how far will they go?

Topkin: As Rays start dealing, how far will they go?

After collecting intelligence at last week’s GM meetings, the Rays soon will launch their offseason mission of trading at least a couple of veterans to reduce payroll.The question is how far they will go — how many players they deal, and how big of n...
Published: 11/18/17
Rocco Baldelli’s promotion on Rays coaching staff now makes him major league field coordinator

Rocco Baldelli’s promotion on Rays coaching staff now makes him major league field coordinator

The Rays completed the reorganization of their coaching staff by giving Rocco Baldelli the title of major league field coordinator.In being promoted from first-base coach, Baldelli will implement ideas and information from the staff, while assisting ...
Published: 11/17/17
Rays hope to cash in on Alex Cobb leaving

Rays hope to cash in on Alex Cobb leaving

LAKE BUENA VISTA — The Rays were banking on pitcher Alex Cobb declining their one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer based on the lure of a longer-term and more lucrative deal elsewhere as a free agent.With that decision official Thursday, now the ...
Published: 11/16/17
Commissioner Rob Manfred likes Ybor City stadium site, but must see more support to keep baseball in Tampa Bay

Commissioner Rob Manfred likes Ybor City stadium site, but must see more support to keep baseball in Tampa Bay

LAKE BUENA VISTA — MLB commissioner Rob Manfred didn’t want to talk Thursday about what might happen if the current effort to build the Rays a new stadium at the Ybor City site falls through."I’m more focused on working with the community to figure o...
Published: 11/16/17
A message to Rays fans from Alex Cobb

A message to Rays fans from Alex Cobb

Here is a message from RHP Alex Cobb after he officially left the Rays Thursday in declining their one-year, $17.4-milllion qualifying offer to seek a bigger and longer pact elsewhere:"Getting to this point in my career is truly bittersweet."Twelve y...
Published: 11/16/17
UPDATE: Rays to gain draft pick for loss of free agent pitcher Alex Cobb

UPDATE: Rays to gain draft pick for loss of free agent pitcher Alex Cobb

UPDATE, 5:01: Cobb did not accept the offer by the deadline, as expected.DEVELOPING: Sometime before today's 5 p.m. deadline, the Rays will get official word that their $17.4-million slight gamble on Alex Cobb paid off.The Rays made the free-agent ri...
Published: 11/16/17
As he prepares to leave the Rays, how will you remember Alex Cobb?

As he prepares to leave the Rays, how will you remember Alex Cobb?

Presuming Alex Cobb declines the Rays’ one-year, $17.4-million qualifying offer by 5 p.m. today, he has pitched his last game for Tampa Bay.Cobb has received preliminary interest from "lots of teams" already, agent Dan Horwits said. The Cubs and Twin...
Published: 11/16/17
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says progress must continue on new stadium to keep Rays

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says progress must continue on new stadium to keep Rays

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred made clear Thursday that identification of a site for a new Rays stadium is merely the first step for area leaders to show they want to keep the team long-term and that there needs to "consistent forward movement" on the ...
Published: 11/16/17
Sternberg: Tampa Bay Rays' share of new ballpark could be $150 million

Sternberg: Tampa Bay Rays' share of new ballpark could be $150 million

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Tampa Bay Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg said Wednesday that the team is "genuinely excited" about the proposed Ybor City site for a new stadium and more than "cautiously optimistic" the project can be completed. But ...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/16/17

Rays journal: No big deals at GM meetings, but possible groundwork laid

By MARC TOPKINLAKE BUENA VISTA — Rays officials left the GM meetings without making any big deals — such as trading Alex Colome or Chris Archer to the Cardinals — but more knowledgeable about the possibilities. "Expectations were to utilize these few...
Published: 11/15/17