Friday, May 25, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Pitcher Odorizzi beats Rays in arbitration

PORT CHARLOTTE

RHP Jake Odorizzi was pretty pumped Tuesday over his first win of the season. • That came with the decision by an arbitration panel that Odorizzi will get the $4.1 million salary he sought rather than the $3.825 million the Rays offered. • "Kind of overjoyed," Odorizzi said. "It's good to get a win." • As a result of team policy to cease negotiations and proceed to a hearing once figures are blindly exchanged, the battle, and Monday's three-hour hearing, was over a relative-to-pro-sports meager $275,000. • But Odorizzi said that based on principle and precedent, given that the salary in his first year of arbitration eligibility serves as the foundation for the future, it was worth battling for, noting the Rays "were pretty gentle" in their arguments. • "Either way was going to be a win when you're talking about that amount of money," said Odorizzi, who made $520,700 last year. "So it's all in perspective. But it's nice for pride purposes to get what you fought for." • After winning their first five cases under Stuart Sternberg's ownership, the Rays have lost two straight, as LHP Drew Smyly beat them last year.

Arrival, departure

RHP Nathan Eovaldi joined the team after finalizing a deal that includes a $2 million salary this season while he rehabs from August Tommy John surgery and a team option for $2 million next season, with the chance to earn up to $3.5 million in incentives.

The hard-throwing former Yankee said he chose to sign with the Rays based on their strong training staff and reputation for rehabbing pitchers. The Rays feel the investment could pay off big with Eovaldi, 27, as either a starter or reliever.

"We're going to get him healthy under a very watchful eye," manager Kevin Cash said. "He's going to help us at some point later on."

Even though Eovaldi is headed to the 60-day DL, the Rays had to clear space on the 40-man roster, so knuckleballing RHP Eddie Gamboa was designated for assignment then traded to Texas for cash or a player to be named.

Quote of the day

"When Chris Archer is throwing 98 and throwing 91 mph sliders I'll watch it and pull for him, but I'll be cringing.''

Cash, on the concern of having their top starter in the March World Baseball Classic.

Roll call

Free-agent signee C Wilson Ramos is expected in camp today after missing two days with what Cash said was "a family matter, non-emergency." The other 39 pitchers and catchers worked out Tuesday, as did 13 early-reporting position players, including OF Colby Rasmus' first appearance.

Spring things

. Getting noticed on Day 1 is hard, but Rule 5 draftee RHP Kevin Gadea, who hasn't pitched above Class A, impressed Cash with his poise and strike-throwing.

. LHP Xavier Cedeno said he is over the neck issues that ended his 2016 season but will be on a reduced workload early in camp to keep him stronger during the season.

. RHPs Chris Archer, Alex Colome and Brad Boxberger are among pitchers slated to throw off the mounds today.

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