ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Jake Odorizzi is hoping his struggles this season can be tied directly to the lower-back strain he has tried to pitch through since spring training. Toward that end, the Rays placed Odorizzi on the 10-day disabled list Wednesday retroactive to Tuesday.
"I need it to cool down and get back to being normal, being able to finish pitches, because that's the problem," Odorizzi said. "It's restricting me from finishing pitches. It's been a factor. That's kind of been the thing all year, a little more up in the zone because I can't get through it."
That has led to 23 home runs allowed in 18 games.
"We figured this is probably the right time," manager Kevin Cash said.
Especially since Odorizzi's next two starts were scheduled to be Friday at homer-friendly Yankee Stadium and Wednesday in Houston against the homer-happy Astros.
Odorizzi said he doesn't expect to miss more than those two starts. RHP Austin Pruitt, who was scratched from Tuesday start at Triple-A Durham but did throw a bullpen, is expected pitch Friday against the Yankees.
Odorizzi said an MRI exam showed only a strain and that all he needs is rest to let the muscles relax before he resumes throwing.
"I've been able to compete with it this season, but it will be nice to be back to 100 percent and feel good, especially for the 24 other guys in this locker room, cause we're going to need to be at our top level these last two months," he said.
Big fly from Longo
Orioles RHP Ubaldo Jimenez, he of the 7.19 ERA heading into Wednesday's game, was having his way with the Rays for the first five innings, holding them to a pair of hits and striking out seven.
Then Jimenez walked Mallex Smith (top right) with one out in the sixth and allowed a long, loud home run to Evan Longoria (bottom) that put the Rays up 2-1 .
"It was just a jolt of adrenalin, excitement: all right, let's go, we're doing this," winning pitcher Alex Cobb said. "We needed that spark, that momentum shift."
Longoria has 38 career homers against the Orioles, his most against any opponent.
"Everybody is kind of waiting for that moment, somebody to step up and come through, and when he did, it felt like revitalizing energy. It kind of felt like things hadn't gone our way," RF Steven Souza Jr., said. "That puts a fire in us. It was very refreshing."
Quote of the day
"Competitive games are just more fun. It's hard to put in to words, but with the pitching staff we have and the lineup we have, we feel like we can win every game. We come to the yard thinking we can actually win every game and it's going to mean something. In the past, even when we thought we had a chance to win, you're 20 games out, it's a little tougher to get motivated."
RHP Chris Archer on being in a playoff race
Number of the day
21 Home runs this season off right-handers by Steven Souza Jr., most by a right-handed hitter to start the season since Sammy Sosa of the Cubs began with 22 in 2004.
• CF Kevin Kiermaier (right-hip fracture) and INF Daniel Robertson (neck spasms) will begin their minor-league rehab assignments tonight at Class A Charlotte.
• RHP Andrew Kittredge was recalled Wednesday from Triple-A Durham to replace Odorizzi's spot on the roster.
• RHP Diego Moreno (shoulder bursitis) was activated from the 60-day DL and optioned to Durham.