Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rays' Smyly feels healthy, ready

PORT CHARLOTTE — Having missed most of last season battling his way back from a shoulder tear, Rays LHP Drew Smyly reported to camp upbeat after spending much of the winter working hard to prevent any further issues.

"I'm ready," Smyly said Friday. "Time will tell. Injuries are part of the game. You can't foresee them. Everyone tries to prepare themselves to be healthy, but stuff happens.

"But I feel great. I know I put in the work this offseason to put myself in position to pitch and be healthy. And now I've just got to do it.

"I know when I'm on the field I can perform with the best, so I'm excited to go back out and compete."

Smyly opened 2015 on the disabled list, made three starts, went back on the DL in early May, then returned in mid August to make nine more starts. He finished strong, 5-0, 2.54 in his last eight.

With that physical and mental boost, he spent the offseason working out near his Texas home with the physical therapist team associated with Dr. Keith Meister on a program that was a combination of rehab and strengthening. "We just focused on making my shoulder as healthy as it can be," he said.

BOXED IN: RHP Brad Boxberger reported to camp in a new situation, with a defined role for the first time, and as the Rays' clear closer at that.

"I'm ready for it," said Boxberger, who led the AL both in saves (41 in 47 chances) and relief losses (10).

"With what kind of went down last year and being able to keep that momentum and go into this year and fine-tune some stuff, and take some experience from last year and put it into this year, is definitely going to help me out," he said.

Given the volume of high-stress work, Boxberger said he plans to do a little less throwing leading up to the season, to "not overexert myself during spring, just be able to get through it healthy and be ready to go for April."

WEBB CITY: Growing up in Clearwater, RHP Ryan Webb was a fan of the local big-league team since the 1998 inaugural Devil Rays season, ticking off Wade Boggs, Fred McGriff and Quinton McCracken among his favorites.

And that history made Webb even more excited to be part of the current Rays team after agreeing Thursday to a one-year deal for $1 million, plus up to another $500,000 in appearance-based incentives.

"It's every kid's dream come true," Webb said. "I watched the Rays growing up since the inaugural season. The family would go to the games. Even when I was a pro, we would still come watch when they were in the playoffs. It's always exciting for me.

"So to have the opportunity to get to play in the place I grew up, it's really a dream come true. I'm really excited about it."

Webb and his family still live in the Tampa Bay area, so he is looking forward to the new experience of having them around all season. That includes his father, Hank, a former big-league pitcher with the Mets and Dodgers, who is now director of the Clearwater for Youth nonprofit group.

Sitting on the free agent market into February was "stressful," Webb said, but there was "a lot of interest" and he was eager to pursue the opportunity with a Rays team he sees as a contender.

Coming off a decent season with the Indians, Webb said he worked hard during the offseason to make some mechanical adjustments, quickening his time to the plate and improving his off-speed repertoire.

"I feel like I'm more prepared this spring than I have been the last couple," Webb said.

"I'm going to a little more aggressive approach and see where it takes me."

MISCELLANY: By unofficial count, at least 48 of the 64 rostered players are already in Port Charlotte, including all seven catchers and most of the 33 pitchers. … Today is an administrative day with physical exams and no on-field work. … The first workout for pitchers and catchers is 9:30 Sunday. … INF Ryan Brett reported sporting a Duck Dynasty-style beard but said it was thinner than last year. … Manager Kevin Cash noted that RHP Jake Odorizzi "put on a little bit more muscle, more weight."

Spring fling

The Rays officially open camp Sunday with the first workout for pitchers and catchers starting at 9:30 a.m. at the Charlotte Sports Park (2300 El Jobean Road) and lasting about two hours. Admission and parking are free. Driving time from the bay area is 1½-2 hours. Suggested route: Interstate 75 south to Toledo Blade Road, go west 6½ miles to El Jobean Road (SR 776), go right 2 miles, stadium complex is on left. For information: (941) 235-5025.

Rays' Smyly feels healthy, ready 02/19/16 [Last modified: Friday, February 19, 2016 9:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. New Bucs player murals go up at Raymond James Stadium

    Blogs

    Each summer, it's a sign that training camp is soon to arrive at One Buc Place: the changing of the huge player murals on each corner of Raymond James Stadium.

    Bucs receivers DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans share a mural on the southeast corner of Raymond James Stadium.
  2. Jordan Spieth wins British Open (w/ video)

    Golf

    SOUTHPORT, England — Someday, perhaps soon, there will be a plaque at Royal Birkdale for Jordan Spieth, much like the one off the 16th hole that celebrates Arnold Palmer and the 6-iron he slashed out of the rough in 1961 to win the British Open and usher in a new era of golf.

    Matt Kuchar plays out of the bunker on the 18th hole and finishes with bogey for 1-under 69. He had a one-shot lead after 13 holes.
  3. Fennelly: Brutal weekend could be start of something worse for Rays

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Well, that was lovely.

    Brad Boxberger suffers his second loss in the three-game series, this time by allowing back-to-back homers in the eighth inning when called on to protect a 5-3 lead. “Just bad pitches,” he says.
  4. Wesley Chapel hockey camp impresses youth players, parents

    Lightning Strikes

    WESLEY CHAPEL — As a 17-year-old Triple-A hockey player, MacCallum Brown regularly plays against elite talent. As a Palm Harbor resident, he often has to travel to face that talent.

  5. Rays journal: Rays gamble on Sergio Romo's track record, heart

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Some of RHP Sergio Romo's numbers this season with the Dodgers were the worst of his career, yet the Rays feel he can be a good fit for their bullpen.

    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26:  Sergio Romo #54 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch in the 9th inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Dodger Stadium on June 26, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)