Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Erasmo Ramirez plans to 'be smarter' about heavy use

MIAMI — RHP Erasmo Ramirez has been willing to do anything he can to help the Rays win, earning the nickname Every Day Erasmo for his frequent appearances.

But after an extended Monday outing in which threw more than 50 pitches in two-plus innings, Ramirez said he has got to "be smarter" in making sure he doesn't throw too much or too often.

"Don't try to be the hero of the team because I could get injured, and that is going to be worse," Ramirez said. "Worse for me, anyway, because they can call anyone up to replace me, but I've got to be careful about my arm."

Ramirez said he felt okay Tuesday, waking up with "normal soreness" — although more comparable to what he felt following a start than a relief outing — and expects to be available again Thursday.

Serving as the bridge from the starters to RH closer Alex Colome, Ramirez has emerged as one of the Rays' top relievers, and potentially the MVP of the first quarter of the season. He leads the majors with 311/3 relief innings, 16 appearances of one-plus innings and 10 of at least two.

Ramirez has enjoyed the responsibility and level of contribution but said Monday's game, in which he was asked and agreed to start a third inning after throwing 45 pitches in the first two, proved to be something of an alert, especially when he gave up singles to the first two hitters.

"I have to learn from that," he said. "After a long inning sometimes I have to step back and say, Okay, just bring in another one of my friends to throw and don't try to be the hero no more."

Baseball operations president Matt Silverman said they are monitoring the situation.

FOR THE WIN: The Rays' 4-3 win over the Marlins on Tuesday included several unexpected twists, starting with RH starter Jake Odorizzi giving them a 1-0 lead with his first big-league hit, a two-out RBI single. They got their next two on a two-run single by C Hank Conger, who had knocked in only one run in his first 23 games. And their fourth came on a single by 2B Steve Pearce that caromed off third base, scoring SS Brad Miller, who had walked, stolen second and gone to third on an errant throw.

Also good was 1B Logan Morrison continuing his torrid pace, going 3-for-3 with a walk, making for a 12-for-23 road trip with seven RBIs and seven runs, hiking his average to .206. Not good was Pearce and RF Steven Souza colliding on a pop fly, costing Odorizzi extra pitches in the fourth, and Miller botching a popup in the eighth.

FOR THE SAVE: Colome, who was on the mound for Monday's game-losing run, was impressive Tuesday in getting the final six outs for his 12th save. "It's not easy, but I put it in my mind that I had to do it because of (Monday) night," he said.

FIRST TIME: RHP Tyler Sturdevant made an impressive big-league debut. He was summoned with one out in the sixth and the tying run on first and calmly struck out SS Adeiny Hechavarria and got pinch-hitter Chris Johnson to ground out, earning praise from manager Kevin Cash.

"It's kind of surreal, honestly," said Sturdevant, 30, who spent seven-plus years in the minors. "It was fantastic. It was great. Best outing of my life."

REHAB REPORT: RHP Brad Boxberger will make his fifth rehab appearance tonight, this time with Double-A Montgomery, as he nears a return to action from March 17 core muscle repair surgery. The Rays will decide after this outing if he is ready or needs a sixth outing. … CF Kevin Kiermaier had successful surgery to repair the two broken metacarpal bones in his left hand performed by Dr. Doug Carlan in St. Petersburg. Kiermaier is expected to miss 8-10 weeks.

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