Saturday, January 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Odorizzi banks on prior experience

BALTIMORE — There still will be plenty new for RHP Jake Odorizzi today: his first start for the Rays, his first time facing the Blue Jays, his first trip to the Rogers Centre, and Canada overall.

But it won't be his first time in the big leagues, having made two starts at the end of last season for the Royals, who sent him to the Rays in the December James Shields deal. And that's the key issue.

"I think I really benefited from last year," Odorizzi said Sunday. "It would have been a lot bigger experience, obviously, had it been a new team and first time up. But those days were crucial last year. I feel a lot more at home having been up once already.

"And now being here, especially with this team, I fit in really well in the spring. And I'm happy to be here with all the guys again."

The Rays plan for Odorizzi to cover the two or three starts LHP David Price is expected to miss while on the disabled list, and they expect good things.

"He's not intimidated at all by this stuff," manager Joe Maddon said. "He's got a nice way about him. There's a confidence about him. He's not over-amped about the whole thing."

Odorizzi, 23, was pitching for Triple-A Durham when Price left the game hurt Wednesday and didn't know until after the game he was pulled early after a phone call from the Rays front office. He was officially told Friday he was the choice and came to Baltimore on Saturday afternoon to get reacquainted and acclimated.

Odorizzi, ranked the Rays' fifth-best prospect by Baseball America, was 4-0, 3.83 in eight starts for Durham with 47 strikeouts in 44? innings though also 15 walks. He mixes pitches well and benefits from keeping the ball down.

"I just want to fill in the best I can and try to get a win or two while I'm up here," Odorizzi said. "I'm, obviously, not going to compare myself to David in any respect. I just want to go pitch my game, do what I do best, and hopefully, everything works out."

NOT-SO-INSTANT REPLAY: It took around 10 minutes for crew chief Gerry Davis and the umpires to sort through the arguments from Maddon and Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who were on the field at the same time — at one point paired off with two umpires — before deciding to review Matt Joyce's ball that hit above the rightfield wall.

Showalter's argument was simple: It was foul. Maddon's more complex and, according to Davis, incorrect: Because the fair ruling gave Joyce a double, he wanted the review to prove only it was a homer, not that it was foul.

"He thought the only thing possible was it being a fair ball play, which would have been a double or a home run," Davis told a pool reporter. "That's not true. If we go to replay, whatever we ascertain from the replay is the call we make. So a foul ball is a possibility in that situation. That was the delay because that's what I was telling him; that if we go to replay, that's possibly what could happen."

The review showed, clearly Davis said, it was a home run.

ARM FOR A DAY: Once LHP Jeff Beliveau got the news of his promotion Saturday night (called back to the Durham clubhouse after making a quick getaway following a rain-shortened game) and made it to Baltimore Sunday morning, he had to introduce himself to his new teammates, coaches and manager, having been acquired from Texas on April 16 (for cash).

Beliveau was, essentially, on loan for the day, providing a fresh arm for the bullpen by replacing LHP Alex Torres, who pitched four scoreless innings Saturday but wouldn't have been available Sunday. Beliveau was sent back to Durham after the game, and Odorizzi was added in his spot.

MISCELLANY: 3B Evan Longoria extended his hitting streak to a career-high 13 games and has reached in a majors-high 42. … C Jose Molina, who left Saturday with left hamstring tightness, was available in an emergency. … Today is a day game because it's Victoria Day in Canada. … With a Sunday rainout in New York, the Jays will start knuckleballing RHP R.A. Dickey today in place of RHP Chad Jenkins. … Maddon said he is looking at using Longoria at DH on Wednesday in advance of Thursday's off day. … Torres on Saturday joined Esteban Yan (1998) and Tanyon Sturtze (2000) as Rays to work four or more relief innings without allowing a hit.

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