Sunday, January 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays journal: Austin Pruitt holding his own against aces

ST. PETERSBURG — Hey Austin Pruitt, what do you think about pitching against Dallas Keuchel?

Hey Austin, what about going against Chris Sale?

Pru … Corey Kluber?

Might there be a day when a young pitcher is asked what it feels like to pitch against Austin Pruitt?

"I really hope so, one of these days," Pruitt said. "That will be cool."

For the time being, the Rays rookie right-hander will have to answer questions about being matched up against some of the best starters in baseball.

The Rays have faced Yankees RHP Masahiro Tanaka, Astros LHP Keuchel and Red Sox LHP Sale in his first three big-league starts. Today he faces Indians RHP Kluber.

"He's been really challenged," manager Kevin Cash said. "You're always challenged against the hitters more than you are the opposing pitcher, but saying that, he's gone up against four really big names."

And held his own, too.

Pruitt is 1-2 in three starts but has allowed just six earned runs in 201/3 innings, with five coming in the first start in New York.

"Really impressed with the way Austin has gone out and executed his pitches, worked to the edges," Cash said. "I think the biggest thing that he has done that allowed him to have so much success over his last couple of starts is, he committed himself to throw strikes early in the count."

Pruitt began the year in the bullpen, where he struggled — 22 earned runs in 282/3 innings.

Now he's facing off against former Cy Young Award winners and opening day starters.

So how about it, Austin, what's it like pitching against aces?

"You focus a little bit more just knowing the guy on the other side throwing against you is pretty good," he said. "It kind of makes me a little more excited against that guy."

Quote of the day

"Don't do anything drastic. We're not flip-flopping the lineup or doing anything crazy. We're not benching guys for not having success."

Cash on what he can do to cure the anemic offense

Number of the day

4 Times in eight games Indians pitchers carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning against the Rays at Tropicana Field, after RHP Carlos Carrasco (below) held them hitless for 62/3 on Friday.

A day of rest

Cash made two lineups Saturday afternoon, one with 3B Evan Longoria and one without him. After Longoria tested his bruised left thumb by swinging and fielding, Cash went with the lineup without Longoria.

"I feel pretty good, but I'm just going to take a day," Longoria said. "I think I could play, but probably the smart thing to do is let it feel a little bit better. … It's a tough call for me, but I'm just trying to make the smart decision so I can be 100 percent" today.

Longoria suffered the injury during the fifth inning Friday while trying to field a hard grounder by the Indians' Giovanny Urshela.

"You know what, this isn't the worst thing for Evan," Cash said. "We ask him to play all the time. He wants to be out there all the time. If we can get him a day off his feet that might be as important as resting his thumb."

Miscellany

. CF Kevin Kiermaier (hip, back) went 0-for-4 as the DH in a rehab start for advanced Class A Charlotte.

. The Indians wore uniforms from the 1975 season while the Rays wore their standard retro uniforms Saturday during Turn back the Clock Night.

Comments
Why free agency hasnít turned out fun (yet) for ex-Rays pitcher Alex Cobb

Why free agency hasnít turned out fun (yet) for ex-Rays pitcher Alex Cobb

RHP Alex Cobb never expected to be going into late January without knowing where he was going for spring training.The longtime Ray's first foray into free agency hasn't gone as planned, much like the 150-plus others waiting for something to give in a...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rays infielder Daniel Robertson lends a hand to help families dealing with cancer

Rays infielder Daniel Robertson lends a hand to help families dealing with cancer

Rays infielder Daniel Robertson has much to be excited about heading into his second season in the majors.But before packing for spring training, he took some time last weekend to provide help for families needing assistance in dealing with cancer.Hi...
Published: 01/19/18
Ex-Rays star Longoria dons Giants jersey, looks forward to full-stadium environment in San Francisco

Ex-Rays star Longoria dons Giants jersey, looks forward to full-stadium environment in San Francisco

Longtime Rays star Evan Longoria was formally introduced in San Francisco today, adding the visual of him pulling on his new Giants jersey, switching to No. 10 since 3 is retired.Longoria said he welcomed the chance to play on a contending team stock...
Published: 01/19/18
What do Rays look like now? What will they look like March 29?

What do Rays look like now? What will they look like March 29?

ST. PETERSBURG — Since entering an off-season planning major change and pledging to be open to "anything and everything,'' the Rays have made a few minor moves and one massive one in trading franchise cornerstone Evan Longoria to San Francisco....
Published: 01/19/18
Reminder: Rays spring tickets go on sale today at 10 a.m.

Reminder: Rays spring tickets go on sale today at 10 a.m.

The Rays will put single game tickets for spring training home games on sale today at 10 a.m. via raysbaseball.com.The Rays are playing 14 home games in Port Charlotte, starting with the Feb. 23 opener vs. Pittsburgh. Tickets will be available at the...
Published: 01/19/18
Tampa Bay Rays 2018 spring training schedule

Tampa Bay Rays 2018 spring training schedule

Charlotte Sports Park, 2300 El Jobean Rd., Port Charlotte, 33948Get tickets here: (941) 206-4487Pitchers report: Feb. 13. Squad reports: Feb. 19TEAM SCHEDULE(games at 1:05 unless noted)(ss - split squad)Feb 23 at Orioles (ss) (Sarasota)Feb 23 PIRATE...
Published: 01/19/18
Ex-Phillies, Indians manager Charlie Manuel to get Ted Williams Museum award

Ex-Phillies, Indians manager Charlie Manuel to get Ted Williams Museum award

Former Phillies and Indians manager Charlie Manuel will receive the Ted Williams Lifetime Achievement Award on Feb. 10 in Clearwater.The honor is bestowed by the Ted Williams Museum at its annual Hitters Hall of Fame induction, moving this year from ...
Published: 01/19/18
Former Rays OF Matt Joyce to hold annual charity baseball camp at North Brandon complex

Former Rays OF Matt Joyce to hold annual charity baseball camp at North Brandon complex

Armwood High product Matt Joyce, the current A's and former Rays outfielder, hosts his ninth annual Sweet Swingin' charity baseball camp for kids 6-12 on Sunday at the North Brandon youth baseball complex (2929 S Kingsway Rd, Seffner).Registration st...
Published: 01/18/18
Rays spring tickets go on sale Friday

Rays spring tickets go on sale Friday

The Rays will put single game tickets for spring training home games on sale Friday at 10 a.m. via raysbaseball.com.The Rays are playing 14 home games in Port Charlotte, starting with the Feb. 23 opener vs. Pittsburgh. Tickets will be available at th...
Published: 01/17/18
A look at Rays 40-man roster with spring training starting in less than a month

A look at Rays 40-man roster with spring training starting in less than a month

With the start of spring training now less than a month away, here is what the Rays roster looks like, with the most glaring hole at first base, which at this point seems likely to be manned by Brad Miller, and some questions about the pitching staff...
Published: 01/17/18