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Odorizzi sharp in first start after making Rays rotation

PORT CHARLOTTE — RHP Jake Odorizzi made his final spring start Tuesday, relieved he finally wasn't competing for a job.

Odorizzi, named the Rays' fifth starter Saturday, said the more stable status allowed him to be much more relaxed, and it played a big role in better execution in a 4-2 loss to the Red Sox.

Odorizzi was charged with three runs on four hits in five innings, striking out five and walking two in a 92-pitch outing.

"It's just a different mind-set," Odorizzi said. "Everybody would probably feel the same way, just a level of comfort, you can relax and go out there and pitch and all you have to worry about is pitching. And I think that helped (Tuesday), and hopefully improve from there."

Odorizzi gave up a homer to 3B Will Middlebrooks and wished he could have pitched into the seventh, but overall he was pleased with how he felt and performed. His new split-change continued to be a "huge weapon," and his curveball was the "best it's been in a very long time." Manager Joe Maddon said Odorizzi had "everything working" with outstanding fastball velocity.

"Just a lot of encouraging things (Tuesday) to take into the season," Odorizzi said. "And I'm happy with where I'm at."

MOORE OKAY: LHP Matt Moore, hit in the mouth with a line drive Sunday, continued to feel better. Maddon said after encouraging results from Monday's X-rays, the Rays believe Moore will be able to make his final spring start Friday against the Tigers in Lakeland.

HATS OFF: Less than a week after RHP Alex Cobb said he still hadn't seen a protective cap for pitchers, a representative from the cap's manufacturer arrived at Rays camp showing pitchers the new model.

Cobb said though the hats aren't practical — too hot, heavy and "awkward" — he believes it's a step in the right direction. Cobb said a rep tried to contact him this offseason while he was out of the country, but he plans to keep in touch.

"They're taking a big interest in our opinions, so when they do go back to the drawing board, they'll have a better idea about what we do want," Cobb said. "They're a lot further than they were at this point last year."

NO ANSWERS: RHP Alex Colome's camp has been quiet since the prospect was suspended 50 games Monday by Major League Baseball after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. But RHP Joel Peralta, who lived with Colome this spring, said he spoke to him, and Colome "doesn't know why he tested positive." MLB said Colome tested positive for Boldenone, an anabolic steroid primarily for veterinary use.

GAME DETAILS: Several Rays (15-4-3) starters played nine innings for the first time this spring. … Other than an RBI double by C Jose Molina and RF Wil Myers' RBI single, the offense was quiet. … Peralta, LHP Jake McGee and RHP Josh Lueke each tossed a scoreless inning. … LHP Cesar Ramos gave up a two-run homer.

MISCELLANY: The Rays reassigned C Mayo Acosta and SS Ray Olmedo to minor-league camp. … Bay area musicians Marshall Gillon (vocals) and Les Sabler (guitar) will perform the national anthem on opening day, when the Rays will raise the 2013 AL wild-card banner to the leftfield catwalk. "Very limited" tickets remain for Monday's game.

Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@tampabay.com.

Odorizzi sharp in first start after making Rays rotation 03/25/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 10:54am]
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